On the face of things, when your rabbi tells you that you that he can make your Yom Kippur fast seem shorter, you’d probably be supportive of the idea. But in Israel, like most things there, making Yom Kippur a little easier for some people has been met with lots of dissent from others.
Israel, unlike North America, has already switched back from daylight savings time. This actually isn’t something new. For years, the law has been to turn back to standard time the Sunday before Yom Kippur. It was done out of a view from religious members of the K’nesset that if the fast ended an hour earlier, it would encourage more people to fast on the most holy day of the Jewish calendar.
But now, some people are trying to change this. The Meretz Party has recently introduced a bill (which, if passed, would take into effect next year) would delay the time change to a later point in the year.
More than that, a Facebook group fighting for the cause has over 200,000 members.
But is their argument anything more than just anti-religious sentiment? Actually, yes.
While admitting that people like to enjoy their summer evenings and that it isn’t fair that it has to get dark so early, they do point to the amount of energy that is wasted by the fact that lights need to be turned on at night. Also, they point to the statistics of car related accidents that occur in Israel as a result of driving at night.
It should also be pointed out that we here in North America do just fine with this “extra” hour of Yom Kippur. If anything, I propose getting rid of Neilah. Who decided it would be a good idea to stand for the last hour of a fast?
Pronounced: yohm KIPP-er, also yohm kee-PORE, Origin: Hebrew, The Day of Atonement, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar and, with Rosh Hashanah, one of the High Holidays.