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 Post subject: Good Goy Patel
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 12:29 am 
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Times Of Isreal

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NEW YORK (JTA) – For Samir Patel, the term “goy” is no slur. It’s a point of pride. Patel is a manager of Suhag Wine & Liquors, a family-owned business in the heavily Orthodox neighborhood of Kew Gardens Hills, in Queens. He’s a Hindu immigrant from India, but the vast majority of his customers are religious Jews, and nearly all the wine and spirits he sells are kosher.

Saturday is the store’s slowest day for sales, but there’s another service Patel provides that makes him indispensable: He’s a Shabbos goy. He even has a sign on the door advertising that fact.

“Shabbos Goy,” the signs says. “If you need help on Shabbos, please ask us.”

In Orthodox households, vital everyday tasks such as turning lights on and off, using electrical appliances and cooking are forbidden on the Sabbath. Religious Jews use all sorts of workarounds – electric timers, pre-programmed thermostats, special hotplates – but sometimes it’s not enough. A bedroom light may accidentally be left on. A cool day may unexpectedly turn sweltering. The hotplate may have been left unplugged.

That’s where the Shabbos goy comes in – a non-Jew who can perform forbidden tasks for Jews.

“If someone needs anything, we go and do it for them,” Patel told JTA. “They might need us to turn off a stove. Or they left the fridge light on. Sometimes kids turn on the light by mistake.”

Because business is very slow on Saturdays, Patel is usually the only one minding the store. So when Orthodox customers come in and ask for help, Patel locks up and follows them home. He usually gets about five requests per Shabbos, he says, using the Yiddish-style pronunciation. There is no charge for the service.

“Initially, I definitely thought it was strange,” said Patel, who has worked at the store, wedged between a laundromat and a kosher pizza shop on Main Street, for seven years. “When my family bought this business 20 years ago, we had no idea about the Jewish community. We didn’t know their customs. But religion is religion. We’re happy to help.”

Like many of the Jewish-owned businesses on Main Street, the checkout counter at Patel’s liquor store is cluttered with tzedakah boxes associated with Jewish charities: Chabad, Sephardic Torah Center, Hebrew Free Burial Association, Hatzolah volunteer ambulance corps of Queens.

The Patels have been serving as Shabbos goys for two decades, but they only put up the sign advertising that fact in the last year. Goy, which literally means “nation” in Hebrew, is often considered a pejorative term for non-Jews, but it is used matter-of-factly in many Orthodox circles. Patel said he wasn’t aware some considered it offensive.

“Most people don’t believe us when they see that sign,” he said. “Our customers wanted us to put it up. We were providing the service anyway, so they said, ‘Why not put up a sign?’”

Arvind Patel, a Hindu convenience store owner in Queens who calls himself “the original Shabbos goy,” greets many Jewish customers with well wishes in Hebrew. (Uriel Heilman)
Arvind Patel, a Hindu convenience store owner in Queens who calls himself “the original Shabbos goy,” greets many Jewish customers with well wishes in Hebrew. (Uriel Heilman)

Two doors down, Arvind Patel (no relation), the owner of the local convenience store, also takes pride in serving as a Shabbos goy. He, too, has a sign on his shop, Ambe Grocery: “Shabbos goy available,” it reads. “Shabbat Shalom.”

“I’m the original Shabbos goy,” Arvind boasts. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years. All the rabbis know me. They’re like family.”

Martin Goldman, an Orthodox Jewish criminal defense attorney who has lived in Kew Gardens Hills for more than three decades, calls Arvind “one of the true members of Chasidei Umos Haolam,” or Righteous Among the Nations — a Jewish term of high praise for non-Jews.

“He’s a classic example of how Jews and non-Jews can live together in peace and harmony,” Goldman told JTA.

“Once it was an exceptionally hot Shabbos day and he had his cousin come with me to my home three blocks away and turn on the air conditioning,” Goldman said. “After Shabbos I went in and tipped him, but he never asked for a penny for it. As Jews, we can all learn ‘derech eretz’ [upstanding behavior] from these guys.”

Arvind also owns the laundromat next door, which he notes uses only kosher-certified soap and fabric softener. A letter of certification from a body called the Central Rabbinical Congress of the USA and Canada attests to that.

“I speak a little Hebrew, too. Baruch Hashem yom yom!” Arvind says, using the Hebrew for “Thank God every day.” Many Israelis live in the neighborhood.

When an Orthodox patron leaves the store, Arvind calls out, “Yom tov! Tihiye bari” – Hebrew for “Have a good day. Stay healthy!”

Arvind says he also extends credit to Orthodox Jewish customers who come into the store on the Sabbath for items they unexpectedly need, like milk or soda. They always return and pay on Sunday or Monday, he says.

“I trust them a lot,” Arvind says. “Jewish people is same like my family – mishpachah.”


1: The pun is Hotfoot's fault.
2: I just though we could use a story about people helping each other out for a change.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Goy Patel
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 6:54 pm 
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We can always use a story about people helping people. These are Good People.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Goy Patel
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 8:08 pm 
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How does one leave the fridge light on? Close fridge door, light turns off. It's automatic.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Goy Patel
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 8:26 pm 
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Batman wrote:
How does one leave the fridge light on? Close fridge door, light turns off. It's automatic.

Bats, nothing in that article says anything about the Fridge Light left on.

However, the Orthodox Jews have the strictest interpretation of what's considered "Work" when it comes to the Shabbos. They will literally sit in the dark, rather than exert any effort to turn on a light, because their rules state that tiny amount of effort it takes constitutes "work". And it has costed lives before. The bit about not cooking? There have been several fires started by food left warming on the hotplates overnight.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Goy Patel
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 8:27 pm 
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'Or they left the fridge light on.'
You were saying?

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'I wonder how far the barometer sunk.'-'All der way. Trust me on dis.'
'Go ahead. Bake my quiche'.
'Undead or alive, you're coming with me.'
'Detritus?'-'Yessir?'-'Never go to Klatch'.-'Yessir.'
'Many fine old manuscripts in that place, I believe. Without price, I'm told.'-'Yes, sir. Certainly worthless, sir.'-'Is it possible you misunderstood what I just said, Commander?'
'Can't sing, can't dance, can handle a sword a little'
'Run away, and live to run away another day'-The Rincewind principle
'Hello, inner child. I'm the inner babysitter.'


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 Post subject: Re: Good Goy Patel
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2016 10:11 pm 
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Turning lights on is "work" by the strict interpretations of the Shabbat rules, and since Fridge lights turn on automatically when you open the refrigerator, most super-orthodox jews will de-activate the lights inside the fridge before Shabbat starts. If they forget, or someone accidentally re-activates the light, that leaves them unable, by the strict definition of the law, to open the fridge during the entire sabbath, lest the light come on when they do so. Hence a Shabbat Goy may be required to open the fridge and de-activate the fridge light, so that the Jews in question can get their pre-cooked food out of the refrigerator.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Goy Patel
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:06 am 
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Well at least I know there's somebody who can pull my ass out of a pit if I fall in on the orthodox side of town.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Goy Patel
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:38 pm 
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How the hell is the fridge light turning on work but opening the fridge door is NOT?

_________________
'I wonder how far the barometer sunk.'-'All der way. Trust me on dis.'
'Go ahead. Bake my quiche'.
'Undead or alive, you're coming with me.'
'Detritus?'-'Yessir?'-'Never go to Klatch'.-'Yessir.'
'Many fine old manuscripts in that place, I believe. Without price, I'm told.'-'Yes, sir. Certainly worthless, sir.'-'Is it possible you misunderstood what I just said, Commander?'
'Can't sing, can't dance, can handle a sword a little'
'Run away, and live to run away another day'-The Rincewind principle
'Hello, inner child. I'm the inner babysitter.'


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 Post subject: Re: Good Goy Patel
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:55 pm 
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Turning on any light is work by most common interpretations of Orthodox theology. It's absurd, but there we are.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Goy Patel
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:11 pm 
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To nobody's great (or even existing) surprise, I think religion (especially extremist religion) makes no sense.

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'I wonder how far the barometer sunk.'-'All der way. Trust me on dis.'
'Go ahead. Bake my quiche'.
'Undead or alive, you're coming with me.'
'Detritus?'-'Yessir?'-'Never go to Klatch'.-'Yessir.'
'Many fine old manuscripts in that place, I believe. Without price, I'm told.'-'Yes, sir. Certainly worthless, sir.'-'Is it possible you misunderstood what I just said, Commander?'
'Can't sing, can't dance, can handle a sword a little'
'Run away, and live to run away another day'-The Rincewind principle
'Hello, inner child. I'm the inner babysitter.'


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 Post subject: Re: Good Goy Patel
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 7:36 pm 
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Josh wrote:
Well at least I know there's somebody who can pull my ass out of a pit if I fall in on the orthodox side of town.

To the best of my knowledge, Judaism has explicit provisions stating that the rules may be broken in emergency situations. Like for example even Ultra-Orthodox Jews are allowed to eat pork if the other option is starving.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Goy Patel
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 8:10 pm 
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Batman wrote:
To nobody's great (or even existing) surprise, I think religion (especially extremist religion) makes no sense.


Orthodox Judaism is an orthoprax religion. It can be, but does not need to be particularly extremist. They hold *themselves* to particular standards, but dont hold others to those standards.

They can be assholes about it (like not wanting to sit next to women on planes) but that is not the typical form of behavior they take.

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 Post subject: Re: Good Goy Patel
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2016 9:07 pm 
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I'd consider not wanting the light in your fridge to turn on when you open the door both pretty damned extreme and pretty damned stupid (especially when the light turning on happens automatically while you have to manually open the door yet the light counts as work while the door does not).

_________________
'I wonder how far the barometer sunk.'-'All der way. Trust me on dis.'
'Go ahead. Bake my quiche'.
'Undead or alive, you're coming with me.'
'Detritus?'-'Yessir?'-'Never go to Klatch'.-'Yessir.'
'Many fine old manuscripts in that place, I believe. Without price, I'm told.'-'Yes, sir. Certainly worthless, sir.'-'Is it possible you misunderstood what I just said, Commander?'
'Can't sing, can't dance, can handle a sword a little'
'Run away, and live to run away another day'-The Rincewind principle
'Hello, inner child. I'm the inner babysitter.'


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 Post subject: Re: Good Goy Patel
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:57 pm 
Mr. Party-Killbot
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Batman wrote:
I'd consider not wanting the light in your fridge to turn on when you open the door both pretty damned extreme and pretty damned stupid (especially when the light turning on happens automatically while you have to manually open the door yet the light counts as work while the door does not).


Then I suppose it's best for all concerned that they don't give a shit what you think of their practices.

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Havoc: "So basically if you side against him, he summons Cthulu."
Hotfoot: "Yes, which is reasonable."


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