A friend and I were discussing religious topics on board (I know, I know) and Judaism came up. Neither of us knew of any practicing Jewish folks on ships. We guessed it was the restriction on working on Saturday (Shabbat).
So, some background. Shabbat prohibits work from sunset to sunset every Saturday except to save a life (i.e. emergency room doctor) or standing ready to save a life (soldier standing his post). We figured a watch stander could be justified as a ship without a lookout could hit or be hit resulting in death. Also, we figured an engineer on duty would qualify as a ship without power/propulsion could also endanger life.
But what about other shipboard positions that are customarily performed daily at sea. A cook, steward, maybe a chief mate or master? Even a QMED or electrician might have to stay in his or her stateroom unless called out by an obligation to save life. The Shabbat work prohibition seems like it would exclude an observant Jewish follower from maritime careers.
Anyone have experience with this and can unwrap this riddle? Are we correct in guessing the reason we haven’t noticed any observant Jewish mariners in our careers? I’ve worked with folks of many religions but never - to my knowledge - a single observant follower of Judaism.