Soc.Culture.Jewish Newsgroups
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q7.1 TOC Q7.3 >

Question 7.2:
Why do my Orthodox Jewish friends leave work early on Fridays and before Jewish holidays?


First, all Sabbath-observant and holiday-observant Jews do this, not just Orthodox.

The Jewish "day" begins at sunset and continues to the following sunset. Thus Shabbos observance begins before sunset on Friday. (generally 18 minutes, sometimes more depending upon local custom) Since activities such as cooking, driving a car, etc. are forbidden on Shabbat, one must arrive home and finish the preparations (including showering, changing clothes) sufficiently early to light the candles and go to shul before sunset. In the winter sunset comes early, so Shabbat observers have to leave work early. They arrange with their management to make up the time by working extra hours other days or by coming in early on Friday to make up for leaving early.

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

[Got Questions?]Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at

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© (c) 1993-2002 Daniel P. Faigin <>