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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Daylight Savings Proposal

I've been following the recent debate over the proposal in Congress to extend Daylight Savings Time in order to conserve energy. Many Orthodox Jewish organizations have been encouraging members and constituents to contact their representatives and protest this energy bill. From an e-mail sent out:
It's particularly difficult to oppose this from a secular perspective because almost everyone is in favor of reducing the nation's independence on foreign oil (something this bill would help us do). However, as orthodox Jews we must be compelled to to oppose the means used here for it would prevent daily tefilah b'tzibur on a very tragic scale.

Here's why: if DST were extended, sunrise would end up somewhere around 8:15AM at its latest point and it would be near impossible for many working men to daven before they go to work, especially those who need to be in early.
In addition, on the OU's site, they give further reasons for opposing this bill, including:
1.While we support the goal of a energy independent America, this proposal is the wrong way to achieve it.
-This is a simple child safety issue. Schoolchildren will be forced to wait for buses in the dark.
-Accidents are more likely to occur as children wait in the dark and drivers have less visibility.

2.Criminals and others who could victimize children will have the cover of darkness in which to operate.

3.The US Airline industry will lose millions of dollars due to schedule disruptions and landing rights issue at European airports.
This article discusses those issues, and mentions still more American groups that are opposing this bill, including farmers.

I must add that not all Orthodox Jews are in favor of opposing this bill. My friend the Town Crier is against it, as he feels that Orthodox Jews may come off as self-centered, choosing to make an issue over something that makes us seem "grubby". Though I understand his point, I do not agree. The Airline Industry is opposing it for financial reasons, parents' groups are opposing it for child safety reasons, there is no reason that a segment of our population cannot oppose it on religious grounds.
One person who is opposing the bill is Michael over at The Slippery Slope. He has details on how you can contact your elected officials to oppose this energy bill proposal, if you see fit to do so.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You always frame the issues so reasonably. It must be that your'e a mom.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Lawyer-Wearing-Yarmulka said...

I talked about this a bit yesterday

Shameless blog plug- http://wearing-yarmulka.blogspot.com/2005/07/

Yeah it would be a royal pain to people, take a look at

And and one hour to everything... sunrise at 6:59? Ouch!

9:46 AM  
Blogger The Town Crier said...

I question the sensibility of the action taken, and doubt the chochma behind how things are prioritized into becoming issues.
What troubles me the most in general, is how comfortable we have become given our status and power to be able to make noist and push buttons and get what we want.
I fear that at some point we might need something les trivial and more vital and we will possibly have used up our clout.
I just wonder if people got heads to gether to hammer this out before issuing the statments THOUGH i totally agree with the logic and premise behind it, and as I have learned (being to young to know) that this has indeed happened in the past, during the energy crisis of the 1970's.

9:47 AM  
Blogger and so it shall be... said...

Looking around at some of the other religious, political, social groups, which have no compunction against voicing their feelings and opposition against issues that directly impact them, why does Town Crier, an Orthodox Jew, feel squeamish about standing up for his own interests? TC...get a spine!

9:48 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...


"What troubles me the most in general, is how comfortable we have become given our status and power to be able to make noist and push buttons and get what we want"

That's the American way, no?

"I fear that at some point we might need something les trivial and more vital and we will possibly have used up our clout."

I understand your point here, but we aren't asking anyone to do us a favor, just to consider our needs as citizens. Your citizenship doesn't get depleted every time you use it. In addition, politicians WANT to know how their constituents feel about all issues.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

This is a no-brainer to me. It's a democracy and we should be entitled to use our voice to advocate for our own interests.
As far as the oil issue, it sounds like nothing more than a gimmick to me. How much energy will it really save? And how does that compare with the savings that might result from real steps like raising fuel efficiency standards?

9:58 AM  
Blogger Lawyer-Wearing-Yarmulka said...

It's not gonna save any oil, as the vast majority of power plants in this country are either natural gas, coal, or nuclear powered.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

CWY: It's estimated to only save .5%, one half of one percent, of our daily oil consumption per day! That's a mere 100,000 barrels of oil. As someone pointed out in TTC's comments section, if people traded their gas-guzzling SUV's in favor of sedans, we'd probably save even more oil and still be able to daven tefilah b'tzibur.

10:17 AM  
Blogger and so it shall be... said...

But you can't fit seven kids into a sedan. We'll have to choose. Tfilah b'zibbur or smaller families...

10:24 AM  
Blogger Lawyer-Wearing-Yarmulka said...

SW- how about a minivan? Much better fuel economy and more luggage room!

10:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SW- how about a minivan? Much better fuel economy and more luggage room!

Have you ever tried driving on unplowed winter roads in central Massachusetts or upstate NY without four-wheel drive?

As for this bill, I'm of the don't-bother-protesting camp, though I think it's a ridiculous means toward the end goal of minimizing oil dependence.

10:57 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I don't agree, Shanna. Why is this any different at all from the people in your community requesting a change in the tax-free shopping days? (Not that it worked out so well for you guys...) For all those who are lost, check out:

11:00 AM  
Blogger and so it shall be... said...

shanna, the less you protest, the less your elected representatives know you're alive. (i.e. the less they care) America is the land of the squeaky wheel.

11:17 AM  
Blogger and so it shall be... said...

of course the downshot is that we're going to have to endure dov hikind's demagoguory when he picks up on the issue.

there's a big difference between squeaky wheels and embarassing self-aggrandizement.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Lawyer-Wearing-Yarmulka said...

There are plenty of AWD minivans.

11:25 AM  
Blogger and so it shall be... said...

AWD minivans GUZZLE gas like you wouldn't believe. Hardly a political statmement for OJs concerned about middle eastern oil dependency

11:26 AM  
Blogger Looking Forward said...

wow. that's scary. shabbos already ends here at after ten PM. (in summer)

1:22 PM  
Blogger Looking Forward said...

wow. that's scary. shabbos already ends here at after ten PM. (in summer)

1:22 PM  
Blogger Lawyer-Wearing-Yarmulka said...

Halfnut- shabbos ends after 10 b/c of DST... they want to extend it through november, not add on antother hour so that shabbos ends at 11.

2:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conservatives seek ‘sunshiny day’

The Conservative movement expressed concern about a proposed two-month extension of Daylight Savings Time.
In a letter on Wednesday to members of Congress, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism said that the extension proposed in the 2005 Energy Policy Act — which would establish March through November as daylight-savings months — may make it impossible for observant Jews to get to work by 9 a.m. if they want to recite morning prayers.

“Part of our morning prayers cannot begin until after sunrise,” explained the group’s public policy director, Mark Waldman. “With this proposed change, sunrise at the end of November will be approximately 8:30 a.m. in many parts of the country — and even as late as 8:45 a.m.”

Waldman also said that the proposed extension might mean that children would walk to school in the dark, which caused a previous extension to be repealed after just a year.

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't bother protesting not because I don't want to (as a Jew) make a stink, but because I feel it isn't worth it. My concern over the DST bill has only to do with the fact that it will have a negligible effect on oil consumption. On the other hand, it has the positive feel-good effect of raising patriotism (among some people) just a notch. Just because I'm Jewish doesn't mean I have to toe the party line (i.e., complain because of the minyan problem) on every issue.

4:50 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I totally agree, Shanna. I thought about this, and decided I cared about the issue enough to protest it. But I don't think every issue has to be protested just to "toe the party line". I'm not that type. My only beef is that I wouldn't NOT complain just because it makes us seem "selfish". I think lobbying for a change that suits our community's needs is a right that we have as citizens.

5:01 PM  
Blogger Looking Forward said...

no, we where central time zone untill some nut-job insisted on being eastern time zone (there is now a spike in eastern time zone to include us) therefor all times here for things like matzoi shabbos get as late as 10 oclock or later. (only in summer!) so i'm doubly concerned about the extension.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Alisha said...

I understand about the difficulty of davening shacharit with a minyan, and although I personally love DST and would be thrilled to have it extended, I understand the protest on those grounds.

I have mixed feelings about whether Jews should push their agenda even when it's not monumentally important. On the one hand, it's definitely our right as citizens to do so; on the other, Jews in general tend to have to be more careful than anyone else, because reactions to us are different and always have been. I'm not saying it should be this way, I'm just saying it is.

Finally, I think the argument about not wanting children to wait for buses or walk to school in the dark is stupendously ridiculous, particularly for those observant Jews who send their kids to yeshiva day schools with extended school days. Has everyone forgotten that the exact same problem already exists in the afternoon in the winter without DST??

1:59 PM  

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