I've long heard 'urban legends' of halachically observent Jews in Boston many years ago riding the train ('the T') on Shabbat. Does anyone have any written evidence of such a practice? (I'm not looking for the halachic reasoning, as per another question on this site, rather for evidence for a sociological phenomenon in the halachic Jewish community.)

  • Rabbi Rakeffet discusses Jews in the Bronx riding the subway on Simchas Torah, and a listener eventually found written proof of it. – Shalom Jul 15 '13 at 2:00
  • I heard the T could only be ridden outbound on Shabbat, because it used to be that you only paid for inbound trips. – Double AA Jul 15 '13 at 7:24
  • ...the T isn't actually a form of transit, so I think it'd be okay. Remember, their first priority is safety. ;) – Charles Koppelman Jul 15 '13 at 15:43
  • Is it just me, or does anyone else think that this question would be more appropriate to be asked over at the History SE? – Adam Mosheh Jul 17 '13 at 15:27
  • 3
    @AdamMosheh, it may well also be on-topic there, but as it's about the history of Jewish practice, it's definitely on-topic here, and I would expect there to be greater likelihood that one of our experts would know of a source for this information than one of theirs. – Isaac Moses Jul 17 '13 at 15:43

I don't know about Boston, but I know that at one time Jews on the mainland in Hong Kong would take a ferry to the island where the synagogue was located. Instead of paying for the ferry as usual, they purchased tickets in advance. I have myself seen such a ticket and printed on it the words "only to be used by Jews on the Sabbath".

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