On the occasion of the redesign of the Room of Silence at WU Vienna, I was allowed to give a lecture on the topic of "Silence in Judaism". Not such an easy task. What is the significance of silence in Judaism? But actually I didn't have to think long. Silence has to do with rest, contemplation, recreation, and that brought me directly to the weekly day of rest in Jewish life, the Shabbat. Already in the story of creation, the seventh day is described as God's day of rest, and in the Ten Commandments it is enjoined upon us. "Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their structure. On the seventh day God finished the work he had made, and he rested on the seventh day after he had finished all his work." Gen. 2. chapter
The Room of Silence at WU sees itself as a place of calm and tolerance, a retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Our weekly holiday, Shabbat is just that. From Friday evening, with the entrance of Shabbat, to Saturday evening, the exit of the holiday, work is forbidden. Keeping Shabbat with everything that goes with it and especially keeping to the commandments and prohibitions requires a lot of discipline and is a challenge. In return, one is rewarded with a very special atmosphere of peace, spirituality, tranquillity and a special feeling of togetherness in the family and the community. The opening of the newly designed Room of Silence at WU was designed in a dialogue between representatives of the Abrahamic religions. Now nothing stands in the way of contemplative and restful use.