As the executive director of the nation’s largest program for those who want to convert to Judaism, one of us deals daily with individuals and couples, most in their 20s and 30s, who are actively choosing to join a religious community or recommit themselves to living a Jewish life. In countless conversations, nearly every one of the new Jews says that the yearning for a ritual break in life’s commotion is one of the main reasons they’ve decided to convert. Perhaps that is what Ahad Ha-Am, a 20th-century Jewish philosopher, meant when he wrote: “More than the Jews have kept the Sabbath, the Sabbath has kept the Jews.”…

Similarly, as a Seventh-day Adventist minister, one of us knows that among the greatest appeals of that faith community is its serious observance of the Sabbath. For Seventh-day Adventists, the Sabbath is at the center of religious life. Potlucks and outdoor activities often follow Saturday morning worship services. In addition to abstaining from work and shopping, for 24 hours Seventh-day Adventists focus on community and rest. In our overloaded society, it cannot be a coincidence that Seventh-day Adventism is the nation’s fastest-growing Christian denomination. Adventists have found wholeness and holiness by closely adhering to a seventh-day Sabbath. It’s this weekly time together, set apart from the hurry of the week, that deepens their relationships, strengthens the fabric of their community and helps restore hope and joy to their lives.