Religious or secular, every Jerusalemite knows that from Friday at sundown until Saturday night, stores shut, restaurants close, buses stop running. My professor said if I went to the shuk, or market, Friday morning, I’d be trapped like a kipper, hemmed in by frantic shoppers getting ready for Shabbat, the fundamental Jewish holiday that proves even a thousand-year-old tradition requires last-minute shopping. My relatives here, Judy and Gershon, are religious Jews who have invited me to join them for Shabbat, and I have been asked to arrive in Rehovot by three o’clock. Fearing my Hebrew isn’t strong enough to get the right bus ticket, I hire a taxi for the one-hour ride. The driver wonders if I’d like him to pick me up for a return on Saturday night.

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