Mira Bergen hasn’t failed to observe Shabbat since the eve of the new millennium, Dec. 31, 2000, a streak that, G-d willing, will reach 811 consecutive Shabbats on July 3 and 4.
The Congregation Beth Jacob member’s commitment to Shabbat, however, has forced her to set aside her devotion to the Peachtree Road Race, held every Fourth of July. Bergen’s participation in the race goes back to the 1970s, first as a runner and, more recently, as a fast walker.
But in 2009, for the first time since her Shabbat streak began, the Fourth fell on a Saturday, and Bergen had to choose between them.
She chose Shabbat, but she persuaded a friend and fellow Beth Jacob member, Holocaust survivor Lucy Carson, to use her seamstress skills to make a dress out of the annual T-shirts from the race. That way, she could wear her race support when she went to shul.
The race falls on Shabbat again this year, so again Bergen will skip the 10K and walk to synagogue instead. In addition to wearing the dress Carson made, she will be carrying a purse Carson crafted out of a Peachtree T-shirt.
Bergen invites readers to attend Shabbat morning services at Beth Jacob to see her Peachtree combo, and she promises they’ll have home hospitality for lunch.