Foto Friday – Day of Atonement… and bikes

October 7, 2011 - 3:49 PM by

Most people think that Yom Kippur in Israel looks like this…

Photo by Avishai Teicher, courtesy of PikiWiki Israel

But for many, as on Tel Aviv’s Ayalon Highway, Yom Kippur looks like this…

Photo by Oren Peles, courtesy of PikiWiki Israel

For comparison’s sake, this is what the Ayalon looks like on a regular workday…

Now, not every city in Israeli has a Western Wall (in fact, there’s only one Kotel) but by and large, most Israelis observe Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, in one way or another.

Some uphold tradition with fasting and prayer. Some do not fast but go on picnics and strolls in the park or on the beach. Others stay home, read books and enjoy the peace and quiet that blankets the entire country. That’s because, religious observance or none, Yom Kippur is Israel’s day without cars (excluding unusual events such as in 1973 — and boy, were we surprised).

There is also an entire generation of secular Israelis who have grown up believing that Yom Kippur is actually the day of bicycles and its not unusual for children to bid their parents adieu early in the morning before setting out on an hours-long trek up and down the carless highway.

How long this charming tradition — and it is already a tradition — will last isn’t clear but what is clear is that the Tel Aviv Municipality won’t be aiding it. As of last week, City Hall announced that it would not be operating the Tel-o-Fun bicycle rental service on Yom Kippur, following a request by a city council member from the Shas party. The automatic bike rental service will stop three hours before the Yom Kippur fast begins and commence again tomorrow evening, two hours after the fast ends.

Given that bike riding on Jewish holidays is a hot-button issue among mitzva-keeping cyclists — opinions are divided as to whether the activity constitutes “creating” and there is the problem of “carrying” — it would have been interesting if the Municipality had joined in the debate. But that’s expecting a lot of politicians — even those who ostensibly want to encourage green modes of transport among a primarily non-religious constituency. It remains to be seen how many Tel-o-Fun stands will be raided before the Day of Atonement ends.

Green bike picture courtesy of Tel-o-Fun. All other pictures, unless otherwise noted, courtesy of Tel Aviv in Focus — a huge cache of great pictures taken by people who just love Tel Aviv.

Comments

One Comment on Foto Friday – Day of Atonement… and bikes

  1. Neighborly relations | ISRAELITY on Mon, Oct 10th 2011 7:07 PM
  2. [...] my nephews, walking in the middle of the street, reveling in that particular freedom offered by the car-less Yom Kippur stretch. As I walked in the house, the phone rang, which is highly irregular on Yom Kippur, and [...]

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