It is officially winter time. So have we brought our winter duvets, woolly hats and thermal underwear out of storage?
From where I sit – which is in my garden, early this Sunday morning – the temperature is already in the 70s Fahrenheit, and climbing. There isn’t the slightest hint of a wintry early morning nip in the air.
Only in Israel is winter time installed when it’s still the height of summer.
The clocks are moved back every year after Rosh Hashana because the powers that be think Israelis can’t fast “an extra hour” on Yom Kippur. The fact that the fast still lasts 25 hours and we have the extra hour on Kol Nidre night seems to have escaped them. I guess they reason that we can all get through the first few hours of the fast but will struggle through the interminable final ones.
As sure as Yom Kippur follows Kol Nidre, daylight saving time has caused the annual heated exchange of words between Shas and Meretz. In fact, the proposed law to keep summer time until well into October, in line with the rest of the world, has long been debated in the Knesset.
Ten years ago, Meir Sheetrit, who was then Justice Minister, suggested a wacky compromise: move the clocks back for just 48 hours to encompass Yom Kippur, and then move them forward again.
Apparently, Shas MKS were quite taken with the Sheetrit’s “Yom Kippur time” proposal, but it never saw the light of day. I remember scoffing at the idea back then, but I’m beginning to wonder now whether it really is that bizarre.
For me, the issue is not about fasting more easily on Yom Kippur. It is entirely about our quality of life. Even after living in Israel for many years, I still love that it’s warm enough until at least mid-November to sit and watch the sunset on the beach at the end of a working day; to take young children to the park after school; to barbecue and to eat supper en famille outdoors while it’s still light.
From today, even these simple pleasures have been taken from us.
This time next year, when the daylight saving time debate surfaces yet again, maybe someone will resurrect “Yom Kippur time”. If it would finally put an end to the tedious annual discussion and improve our quality of life, why not give it a try?