Daylight Savings - Thursday, November 8

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 3:38pm -- Rabbi Dan Dorsch

2016_rabbi_dorsch_headshot.pngI know that daylight savings time is stupid.  I know it has nothing to do with farmers. I know that it does in fact have to do with Kaiser Wilhelm in Germany enacting fuel saving measures during World War One whose reasons are now completely anachronistic.

But as an observant Jew, I can’t live without it.

One of the hardest things to do in the morning as a Jew is to wake up and go to minyan.  Add to that waking up two young children and getting them dressed. Now, imagine having to do all of that in the early fall when it’s pitch black outside.  Forget for a moment that halachically speaking, one is ideally supposed to recite the Shema only when it’s daylight outside (we likely do not always cross that threshold at 7:15 a.m. when it’s still dark outside).  Walking out of the house in the morning on the way to pray with the moon high in the sky is a depressing experience.

I’m not complaining, mind you.  However, try being Shabbat observant and having some semblance of a social life when Shabbat ends in Atlanta as late as nearly ten o’clock in the summer.  Unless you are buying your movie tickets in advance and walking to the theater (a possibility I can’t say I haven’t entertained), or hosting people in your home, you really don’t have a Saturday night social life.  At Camp Ramah during the summer, to artificially ameliorate this concern, camp creates its own artificial daylight savings time called “RST” (Ramah-Standard-Time, or camp time). But in the real world, we don’t have that luxury.  During daylight savings time, the absolute earliest Shabbat will end on a Saturday night in Atlanta is still around 6pm. Dinner anyone?

I know that in Atlanta we love our extra daylight.  I enjoy immensely when my child plays in the street for endless hours in the sun.  This is especially precious on Shabbat, when we have LOTS of extra holy time to celebrate as a family.  

But as an observant Jew, I love daylight savings time. Call me Dracula.  Even if Daylight Savings Time is stupid, it’s not useless.


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