A Day Apart: How Jews, Christians, and Muslims Find Faith, Freedom, and Joy on the Sabbath

A Day Apart: How Jews, Christians, and Muslims Find Faith, Freedom, and Joy on the Sabbath

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Christopher D Ringwald

The Sabbath is the original feast day, a day of joy and freedom from work, a holy day that allows us to reconnect with God, our fellows and nature. Now, in a compelling blend of journalism, scholarship and personal memoir, Christopher D. Ringwald examines the Sabbath from Creation to the present, weaving together the stories of three families, three religions and three thousand years of history.

A Day Apart is the first book to examine the Sabbath in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. A marvelously readable book, it offers a fascinating portrait of the basics of the three Sabbaths--the Muslim Juma on Friday, the Jewish Shabbat on Saturday and the Christian Lords Day on Sunday--and introduces us to three families, including Ringwalds own, and shows how they observe the holy day and what it means to them. The heart of the book recounts the history of the Sabbath, ranging from the Creation story and Moses on Mount Sinai, to the teachings of Jesus and Muhammad, the impact of the Protestant Reformation and the Industrial Revolution, and the rise of the modern weekend. Ringwald shows that the Sabbath instinct, to observe a special day of withdrawal and repose, is universal. Indeed, all religions and philosophies teach that life is more than toil, that time should be set aside for contemplation, enjoyment and culture. In todays frantic 24/7 world, the Sabbath--a day devoted to rest and contemplation--has never been more necessary. A Day Apart offers a portrait of a truly timeless way to escape the everyday world and add meaning to our lives.


An inspirational look at the Sabbath in three major religions, its evolution through history and its practice today .


"I can not recall reading anything on the three faiths that so deftly engages them in robust conversation. Amazingly learned, Ringwald nonetheless has a light, friendly touch. The warmrth of his soul is unmistakenable." --Christian Century .

"A Day Apart delights and edifies. Readers will find in this unprecedented book a valuable guide for understanding the Jewish, Christian and Muslim experience, a sound and balanced historical perspective, and a full measure of Sabbath joy. -- Carol Zaleski, co-author of Prayer: A History and co-editor of The Book of Heaven .

"A Day Apart is an homage to American monotheism, including Islam. Ringwald sounds a solemn, brilliant call to multi-faith commonalities in the unique American religious landscape." -- Asma Gull Hasan, author of American Muslims: The New Generation and Why I Am a Muslim: An American Odyssey .

"With warm empathy and astute scholarship, Christopher Ringwald takes us on a guided tour of Sabbath practices in three of the worlds great religions. Although each religion sets apart a different day and gives different meaning to it, Ringwald awakens us to the powerful insight all share: On one day a week it is good to turn away from the chaos of the world toward ourselves, our families, and our communities." -- Francine Klagsbrun, author of The Fourth Commandment: Remember the Sabbath Day .

"Ringwald adroitly combines journalistic field work, personal experience, history of religion, theology, and social criticism to produce a work that is illuminating and inspiring. While focusing on the role of the Sabbath experience in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - taking due note of differences as well as similarities - Ringwald suggests that secular society can also benefit from a day of rest devoted to family, good deeds, and spiritual renewal." -- Solomon Schimmel, author of Wounds Not Healed By Time: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness .

"Profound and very readable. This important and informative book wears its careful scholarship lightly. Interweaving the lives of three seemingly very ordinary yet also profoundly spiritual families, Ringwald illuminates their practices with the story of the Sabbath, teaching the careful reader much about each of these three great religions of the book. Throughout, stories of the past, remote and proximate, illustrate and guide, lead and accompany the readers own Sabbath journey. Some might call this painless education. To this reader, it is a sterling example of a master teacher who is also a master craftsman." -- Ernest Kurtz, co-author of The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning