Pop Quiz: Why was the Poalei Agudat Israel party founded?
c) Secular Studies
d) The protection of shomer-shabbat Jews who were fired by shomer shabbat factory owners for keeping Shabbat.
The answer is d. That’s right, you read correctly. According to Dr. Chaim Shalem of Efrata College in Jerusalem, in 1921 the Polish government declared Sunday to be the legal day of rest, on which it was forbidden to work. This left frum factory owners with a dillema, since closing the factories on Shabbat and Sunday would hurt them economically. They weren’t going to mess with the Polish government and work on Sunday, so that left Shabbat. So they “sold” the factory to non-Jews on Shabbat to keep it running.
But what about all the frum Jews who worked at their factory and kept Shabbat? They fired them. So Poalei Agudat Yisra’el waas started to protest the religious discrimination by frum Jews against other frum Jews for keeping Shabbat.
Truth really is stranger than fiction…