Why Jewish Observance Would Suffer Were Daylight Savings Time Made Permanent

As rabbinic tradition mandates that the Passover seder begin after nightfall, many Orthodox Jews did not sit down to the very long ritual meal until after 8:00 p.m. this year, thanks to Daylight Savings Time (DST). The Senate has recently passed a bill, yet to go before the House, that would keep the country on DST year-round. In addition to other insalubrious effects, writes Yaakov Menken, the legislation would impose burdens on the religious and communal life of observant Jews:

With permanent DST, the sun would rise after 8 a.m. for three months or more in dozens of major American cities, and, at its latest, nearly or after 9 a.m. in northern cities like Detroit, South Bend, and Seattle; . . . permanent DST would have a significant, detrimental effect on the millions of Americans whose religious practices are tied to the rising and setting of the sun, including Orthodox Jews, who constitute the fastest-growing part of the American Jewish community.

For Jewish men, the daily morning service, shaḥarit, is a time-bound obligation—ideally observed in a synagogue and in the company of at least nine others—during the first quarter of the day after sunrise. That is why permanent DST would prove such an impediment: during the winter months, it would be impossible for those in northern parts of the country to pray in this fashion and still get to work by 9 a.m. Those with early shifts would need to interrupt their work abruptly every morning in order to fulfill their religious obligations in rushed and abbreviated fashion. In turn, they would lose out on much of what is meant to be a spiritual and uplifting beginning to the day.

Read more at RealClear Religion

More about: American Jewry, Congress, Prayer

 

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy