In a few hours Jews in Israel will start the annual holiday Yom Kippur, and a day-long fast. It is by default, the greenest day of the year in Israel. For more than 24 hours, starting at sunset tonight, Jewish people will not only refrain from eating, but driving, shopping, wearing leather (and body lotion), taking showers and using modern day conveniences of life like computers and TVs.
Air pollution, as you can imagine, drops way below what you’d find on a normal weekday in Israel. The religious Jews stay in the synagogue most of the time, praying and hoping that their creator will give them a “good stamp” in the Book of Life, thus ensuring another healthy year on this planet. (If you know the Leonard Cohen song, Who By Fire, it’s inspired by the rites and prayer rituals Jews have kept since time immorial.)
Even non-Jews in Israel delight in the opportunity to take a break from the hectic pace of life. Kids in Jaffa –– secular Jewish ones and Arabs –– ride their bikes together, a once a year opportunity to take to the otherwise very busy streets, usually overrun with reckless drivers and polluting buses.
The holiday, which is supposed to be a happy and not a solemn one, also affords people an opportunity to forgive and let bygones be bygones. Friends, family and acquaintances have been busy since Rosh Hashanah, asking for forgiveness, as an assurance to get in their creator’s good books, so to speak.
Green Prophets everywhere can use this day, or its concept, as a metaphor for the environment as well. Consider it is an opportunity to think about your actions, and how you’ve been treading on this beautiful planet. If I’ve done anything to offend or hurt you or your business, as a writer or blogger, I hope you can forgive me.
Signing off with Leonard’s famous song:
Image credit: stroudbr