Part of the time is spent with worship (usually about ~45 mins Friday evening, ~2 hours Saturday morning, and ~15 minutes Saturday evening). It is traditional to have a large meal with family/friends for dinner Friday night and Saturday lunch, and often these meals can go on for 3-4 hours (as a side note, meals without phones with everyone fully engaged in the conversation are great, my wife and I instituted a no phones at meals initiative outside of Sabbath as well).
As for Saturday afternoon, I personally get a lot of reading done and when it's nice I'll go for walks with family/friends or hang out with friends indoors. Lots of my friends get together for board game groups as well. Because those who observe Sabbath don't drive, everyone in the community lives within walking distance of the synagogue and therefore walking distance of each other as well.
This was especially great in middle/high school -- most of my closest friends are still my friends from my neighborhood growing up. We spent so many hours on Sabbath together talking and hanging out without the distractions of phones or movies or video games and grew so close over that time spent together.
Edit to clarify the electricity comment: you can leave stuff such as lights on or use a timer set beforehand, so you're not stuck in the literal dark for a lot of the time :p
If you, as an owner, decide that you want to open 7 days a week, and you have staff that are happy to do 6 days and want/desire the 7th day off, what do you do in relation to those staff? Sack them? Employ others for that 7th day who are willing to work on that day and keep the others on for the other 6 days? Pay penalty rates for the privilege of having your business open 7 days a week?
I have come across many owners that would have no problems just straight up sacking people who are not interested in killing themselves for the business owner. They expect you to work under all and every condition that the business owner puts in place - seeing that since they have given someone a job then that employee is owned by the owner. I have even worked for some such people.
As the business owner, are you willing to work 7 days a week in your own business at the expense of your family life, health, relaxation, etc? These questions need to be carefully considered in a very personal way for there are much broader consequences than you may think.
In fact perhaps having a mandatory closed holiday may mean that many people wouldn't have the jobs they have now.
In terms of a mandatory closed day, how does the historical information align with the current information in relation to unemployment or under-employment?
Irrespective of any laws that are in place, there are still many owners who will threaten sackings if people do not obey the owner's whim and decisions as to the hours the employee is to work. If that means that the employees are expected to be there 7 days a week then there are many owners who will sack their staff for only wanting to work 5 or 6 days a week. There are many employees who do not feel that they have any control over this and simply comply because they feel powerless and locked in. But that is a side issue here.
I'm not sure it's so cut and dry to assume that the individualist "free" "market" approach is always optimal. What are we optimizing for? If we're optimizing for freedom, freedom for who to do what? Freedom from what?
Government should be limited in what it can control. Let the people and social norms make the decisions. The problems with government are worse than those of the free market in the long run, because they create friction and power imbalance between what people want and what another entity tells them is OK.
If your core value is the Government is too strong a force to be allowed to do much anything, then this makes sense. (Personally, it makes some sense to me -- limit the power of the gov't then the worst thing a Trump administration can do is deadlock. Imagine if he had more power?)
You get used to it. It's not like French people can't buy stuff the other 6 days of the week.
> It should be the choice of the business owner and the consumer what they’d like to do.
Not that simple as there are several externalities. Suppose you're a business owner and your competitor opens on Sunday. You suddenly have no other choice than opening on Sunday as well.
I appreciate the convenience of shops being open all the time when I travel to the US or Asia. But I believe it makes a lot of people miserable and it's not a necessity.
It's basically just big shops that close. Anachronistic practice that makes no sense.
Go to Jerusalem on a Saturday and you'll see what "not working" means. Still plenty of people working though.
This was how it was in the UK when I was growing up in the 70s and early 80s. Not much traffic on the roads and a noticeably slower pace of life.
I don't want to go back to that, because with hindsight there were downsides to it, but as an adult I miss that simplicity for myself and my children.
When my daughter was younger, and got her own phone we made a point of telling her (and observing) that there should never be a phone out while you are eating with people. And that it was rude to ignore people and be on your phone when in company.
She's now in her early 20s, and is hardly glued to her phone at all. She'll arrive a a persons house (or back to our house) and just dump it and her keys etc. on a table and ignore it unless it sounds a notification. It's so refreshing to see that when you know that most 20-somethings are welded to their phones 24/7.
Everything you teach kids shapes their view of the world going forward. Make Sunday a quiet day again. Create quality family time. Your kids may protest now, but they'll thank you when you are older.
NB. Also from UK, and I too miss the quiet Sundays we used to have.
We kind of do. Saturday has emerged as the "getting things done around the house" day, and for individual stuff. Then we eat together in the evening (something that isn't always possible Monday to Friday) and play board games or watch a film together. We try to make Sunday a day for family, go out somewhere or do things together at home. Doesn't always work out that way - children's homework, the weather, internet distractions, etc. But I agree that it is important to try.
It seems like mindfulness of what you are doing is more important than the means by which you do it.