Jewish museum makes novel decision on whether to close for Sabbath

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Before it could open its doors in Philadelphia next month, the new National Museum of American Jewish History had to resolve a classic Jewish American predicament: how to treat Saturdays, the Jewish Sabbath.

If the museum remained open for the Sabbath - called Shabbat - the institution would be violating Jewish law, which forbids work and financial transactions on that day.

But if the museum closed for Shabbat, it would prevent the institution from carrying out its mission of sharing the story of American Judaism with visitors on what's likely to be the highest traffic day of the week.

It's the kind of quandary that museum president Michael Rosenzweig says is familiar to American Jews, caught between the dictates of Jewish law and American freedoms, along with the temptations and pressures of a mostly gentile nation....

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