From yesterday’s Seattle P.I., a profile of Abu Ali, a Muslim working as a Shabbos goy in Jerusalem:
This irregular Shabbos Goy trade grew out of a unique need in Orthodox communities for non-Jewish help on the Sabbath. From sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, Jewish law calls on the observant to take a break from life. Cellphones are turned off. No one is allowed to drive. Meals must be cooked in advance. There’s no TV. No computer. No shopping.
But times come when these observant families need help: A fuse blows. Someone accidentally leaves a light on in the bedroom. Someone needs to get to the hospital to give birth.
In those instances, Orthodox Jews call a Shabbos Goy.
I’d heard of this job before, but hadn’t realized the level of finesse involved:
Since observant Jews can’t ask for help, they use a special code with Abu Ali. If they need the air conditioner turned on, they tell him that it’s hot. If they need a light turned on or a fuse changed, they say that it’s dark.
The full article is here.