Hymn – Calabasas, California


And the Children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath,

To make the Sabbath an eternal covenant for their generations.

V’shamru v’nei Yisarel et ha’shabbat

La’asot et ha’shabbat l’dorotam b’rit olam

Jay Rockman is a freshman at USC and a dedicated follower of Jewish religion and tradition. His mother is Israeli, and as a child he learned to speak Hebrew. From grades 6-12 he attend Milken Community School, a prestigious private school in Calabasas, CA that integrates Jewish education into its curriculum. According to Jay, they would often sing Jewish hymns and prayers at assemblies or certain classes; the school would combine both the Hebrew text and the English translation into these short hymns. The third and fourth lines of the hymn are normally written in Hebrew characters, with this version containing the phonetic pronunciation of the words.

“V’Shamru” speaks of the Sabbath as an obligation, mandating that it will be passed down eternally throughout the generations. The past conceptions of the Sabbath (known as “Shabbat”) required that people refrain from laborious activities, such as kindling a fire (which obviously required much more effort hundreds of years ago). However, the modern conception suggests that people should refrain from using electrical appliances or driving cars on Friday night or Saturday until sundown. Obviously, only devout Jews follows these strict guidelines, and more casual followers (such as Jay’s family) try to view Shabbat as a recuperation day, avoiding stressful commitments or laborious tasks. The Sabbath is intended to mirror the period during which God created the Earth; according to the Torah, He spent six days creating, and on the seventh day He rested. The hymn also implies that most people (non-Jews) will not keep the Sabbath, but that is the responsibility of the Jewish people to maintain its sanctity.