Piece of quiet

Yom Kippur (which ended earlier this evening)  is a special event for the whole country in different ways. This piece from The Times of Israel gives you one perspective, from which I offer the following extract:

Every Yom Kippur, on a voluntary basis, more than 99 percent of all Israeli Jews refrain from driving. The corresponding statistic, quoted each year on the day after Yom Kippur, is the precipitous drop in air pollution. A 2011 Environmental Defense Ministry report states that the normally high level of air pollution in the Dan region “disappears almost entirely” every Yom Kippur.

Now that’s what you call making a difference.

To put it in a personal perspective, we live near one of Israel’s major highways. (Think M25 if you are British, or Route 66 if you are North American.) When I went out to shul this morning, there were no cars on the road as far as I could see in all directions. There were, in true Israeli Yom Kippur style, a few cyclists riding on the empty road. (In true Israeli style, some of them were riding the wrong way down the road…)

Final thought: given how bad the driving is in Israel, there’s a part of me that would like to work out a way for every day to be Yom Kippur!