Clock of the Winter

(The title is the literal translation by one of my children of shaon choref, otherwise known as standard time.)

Yom Kippur begins this afternoon (Sunday), with candle-lighting at 4:52. Last night we changed the clocks to standard time. After much wrangling and never knowing when the clocks would change until the last minute, a compromise was worked out in the Knesset to change before Yom Kippur every year. In most years, we will change them back in time for the Passover seder. Changing it last night was a dumb idea for several reasons:

  1. You have to fast for 25 hours anyway, since the start and end of the holiday are determined by the sunset. Ending the fast when the clock reads 6 PM instead of 7 PM may help some people fast better, but it’s not a reason to shorten everyone’s day and increase traffic accidents and electricity usage.
  2. Changing the clock one night before Yom Kippur doesn’t give anyone a chance to get used to it, especially when kids and many adults have vacation today. It is pointless.
  3. During the week-long holiday of Sukkot, we will have less time to enjoy daylight. I asked my husband to find an early minyan (prayer service)  but he said they are rare on Sukkot.
  4. Next year, Yom Kippur falls even earlier on September. . . (wait, why do the free Israeli calendars I get in the mail only go through August?). . . 18.

Several years ago, before this compromise was reached, the political party Shas suggested changing the clocks just for the day of Yom Kippur and changing them back the next day. Now that was laughable, but the current system makes even less sense. If they changed the clock for one or two days we could just ignore it.

To my readers, if  I have offended you in any way it was not intentional. Please write to me directly if something is on your mind, so I can make amends.

Posts of interest:

Fasting on Yom Kippur for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers (from 2007)

Benji Lovitt presents a funny Haveil Havalim.

Israeli Kitchen gets some unusual company.

Baila cuts her water bill. Click here for more water-saving ideas.

My post on the sign advocating segregation of immodestly dressed women drew many responses. The biggest debate, notably in the comments on Rabbi Harry Maryles of Haemtza, revolved around Rabbi Kanievsky’s rulings and whether he could have advocated such a position.

Wishing all my Jewish readers a Gmar Chatimah Tovah, an inscription in the Book of Life for the new year.


  1. i agree about the ridiculousness of changing the clocks immediately before yom kippur. when they used to change the clocks even earlier because of slichot i didn’t like it but i understood it (a bit more). as you say, the fast is 25 hours no matter when you start and if we manage to make it through tisha b’av, we can make it through yom kippur on daylight savings time. gmar chatima tova.

  2. Well said – I completely agree. I just can’t figure it out.
    I’m pretty sure it isnt a halachic issue – rather a power struggle. The Haredim want to show who is boss.
    Shana tova GCT
    Thank you for a great blog

    • Actually, my husband says the real reason is chilul Shabbat (should have put this in the post). When Shabbat ends early, people wait to go out.

  3. As with your Ethiopian olim schools post, I found this one fascinating. Gmar chasima tova & have an easy fast.

  4. My husband and I were debating the 25 hrs of fasting. I said it didn’t matter when they started; he said that fewer “next day” hours would be better. Whatever, it’s odd to be done with seudah hamafseket at 4:30 (!).

    Tzom tov/kal and gmar chatima tova.

  5. sylvia_rachel says

    Gmar chatima tova!

  6. Agreed, I can’t standing losing DST. 🙁 It’s crazy that it’s still so warm but it’s dark at 5 pm. I hate it hate it

  7. All good points. It’s obviously a psychological thing, finishing the fast at 6 PM–and I primarily enjoy it because I can laud it over friends and family in the US. Of course its the same 25 hours, and you are totally right about it getting dark so early in the year.

    And thank you for the link. I owe some of those water-cutting measures to you and your commenters tips. No, you won’t be getting a percentage of the savings. 🙂

  8. Shanah tovah!
    Even though it’s only psychological, I actually appreciate the 6:00 end time.

    P.S. I love this post’s Heblish title… 🙂

  9. So close to Yom Kippur there was really no point.
    However, as a mom of small kids, I find that winter time helps them go to bed earlier.

    Actually since our Shul started at 6:45 it made it much easier for everyone to get up in time.

  10. Fern: Good point about 9 Av.
    Ariela, comment above was to you.
    Tesyaa, thanks, I thought it was so obvious and almost didn’t bother posting!
    Kate (and Keren) so start shul an hour later instead. Otherwise you would have to fill up that hour with something anyway.
    Thanks, S-R.
    Mrs. S, it does give more time to build the sukkah and get the kids to sleep at a reasonable hour.
    As for getting kids to sleep earlier in general, I don’t see a problem when it’s already dark by 7PM even before the clocks change. Our shul started at 7:30. I do find the switch back in the spring to be very difficult in terms of bedtime, especially with all of the holidays.


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