Not every Swiftie is happy about Taylor Swift’s upcoming Eras Tour. While the majority of fans are rushing to get Verified Fan status on Ticketmaster and opening up Capital One credit cards in order to get presale access, one specific demographic has been left out of the fun: observant Jewish Swifties.
Every date on the Eras Tour, save for one in Arlington, Texas, falls on either a Friday or Saturday night. This means that nearly every show falls on Shabbat, a day of rest on which observant Jewish people cannot, for example, drive to a concert. Shabbat goes from just before sundown on Friday until after sundown on Saturday, meaning that Friday shows are completely out of the picture for Jewish fans, and a Saturday show would require a mad dash to the stadium.
The conundrum was summed up nicely in this TikTok by the Jewish fashion influencer Toiby Hayes:
Or this one, from user @tzofiah, which uses a particularly apt Wendy Williams audio:
This is such an issue that fans have had to turn to Change.org in order for their grievances to be heard. In the petition, signed by more than 700 fans, they implore Swift to add Sunday dates to the tour. They ask that Swift “add some Sunday shows, especially at MetLife because the tristate area is heavily populated with Shabbat-observant Jews who will not be able to attend otherwise.”
“Honestly, my heart sank,” Chaya, a 21-year-old Boston-based fan (who asked not to have her full name used), told me. “I was planning to go to the shows at either Gillette or Metlife, and it's super disappointing that I have no options at all now.”
Even worse, Swift’s shows at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey fall not just on Shabbat but on Shavuot, the holiday marking seven weeks since Passover.
“I think she was just trying to open up her shows to as many people as possible, so making all of the shows on the weekends makes sense for that,” Chaya said. “It still is so disappointing for me and all of the religious Jewish Swifties to be denied the opportunity to go to any of her shows. I'll always choose Shabbos over everything, but I wish that I didn't have to lose out on the first Taylor tour in years because we weren't considered at all.”
The sole date on the tour that does not interfere with Shabbat is the April 2 show in Arlington, Texas, and some diehard fans speculate that that might be the move.
“I saw a [TikTok] comment saying [a fan is] flying to Texas with their family, which honestly a lot of Jewish swifties will probably do,” said Danielle Silverstone, a 27-year-old Swiftie in Los Angeles.
“A friend of mine who isn’t Jewish said that [the tour] was a good thing because that means that people didn’t have to worry about work, and then I realized, ‘Oh shit, wait,’” Silverstone said.
Oh shit, wait, indeed. Maybe there is some counsel to be had from a rabbi?
“As a concertgoer and die-hard sports fan, I certainly have been in this position many times,” Rabbi Jonathan Leener of the Prospect Heights Shul said via email. “I would suggest staying close to the venue and leaving right after Shabbat. This would be the best way to honor Shabbat and also get to the show.”
“I'm sure some observant fans will rely on loopholes and gray zones in the laws surrounding Shabbat, but you still can't overcome the fact that going to a concert on Shabbat is not within the spirit of the day, even if not technically breaking any of the laws.”
In my non-Jewish ignorance, I asked Rabbi Leener if there was any punishment — from God or community — for skipping Shabbat, and he said that you cannot “skip” it. “It's happening no matter what, it's a matter of how you decide to observe the sanctity of the day.” So that’s that on that, I guess.
Good luck to the religious Jewish Swifties. Maybe Swift will add more dates, and everything will be fine. If not, have fun in Texas!