How can the Jewish Sabbath start Thursday night? Visit Samoa, where it jump-started the International Date Line. On second thought, rabbis advise not to travel there in order to avoid the complications of its recent move that makes it an island with a 49-hour Sabbath.
The International Dateline always has raised questions for Sabbath observers concerning when the Day of Rest should be observed.
“If it is 1:00 p.m. Monday on the eastern side of the Dateline, it is 1:00 p.m. Tuesday on the western side,” explains Star-K Kashrus Administrator Rabbi David Heber.
“Therefore, if one travels from the United States to China a day is ‘lost,” he continues. Some rabbinic opinions determine, “When the Japanese and New Zealand residents say it is Saturday, halacha [Jewish law] says it is Friday. When they say it is Sunday, it is halachically Shabbos.”
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