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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Harry Potter will bring Jews to Arab bookshop on Shabbat

From the Jerusalem Post:

Want to get your hands on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in Jerusalem only hours after the worldwide release at midnight on Friday? You won't find it in west Jerusalem, not even at Steimatsky's.

Instead you will have to take a trip down Jerusalem's Diagon Alley, otherwise known as Salah A-Din Street in the east of the city and visit Imad Muna, owner of Educational Books, who is opening his store four hours earlier than usual, at 5 a.m. on Saturday morning, to sell the last installment in the series. And Muna is willing to take pre-orders for those who do not handle money on Shabbat.

In fact, according to a Jerusalem Orthodox rabbi who asked not to be named, if Harry is paid for before Shabbat, no Jews work in the store, and the store did not open specifically for Jews, then it is permissible to walk there on Shabbat and get the book.

"I expect a lot of people from west Jerusalem," Muna told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

Usually, he gets few Jewish customers, but he hopes that his stock of 120 Deathly Hallows will attract them. If a customer purchases the book in advance, he or she will be given a receipt to present on Saturday morning.

There's a win/win!

Jews seem to feel a great affinity with Harry Potter. Soccer Dad managed to get an early copy (but remains mum on whether he will read it early); Gil at Hirhurim compared Dumbledore to Rabbi Akiva (check the many, many comments), and someone wrote an entire book on Harry Potter and the Torah.

My review of Book 6, written exactly two years ago today, is here.

UPDATE: Soccer Dad takes the high road. Impressive!