6/07/2011

Israel's New Daylight Savings Law

Interior Minister Eli Yishai has extended Daylight Savings Time into October. This means that Yom Kippur will not fall during DST about 50% of the time. Extending DST into October makes economic sense according to virtually all studies, but many religious people are upset because now Yom Kippur will be "longer".

Of course, Yom Kippur will not be "longer." It's 25 hours any way you slice it. If the issue is that it "feels" longer or contains more waking hours, synagogues now have leeway to start services a bit later (daylight starts later, after all) so people can sleep longer and keep the same number of wakeful fasting hours. And if not? Tough it out. An hour being hungry isn't worth tens of millions of shekels. Furthermore, synagogues that start earlier at the beginning of the winter calendar (because sof z'man kri'at Shema is earlier) will be able to keep their 8:30am start times for a few extra weeks. So there's a net benefit for hours of sleep accrued. Since I try to go to a very early minyan on Yom Kippur so that I can come home and my wife can go to a later minyan, the new schedule actually works out better for me.
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