An Online Journal for Women by Women
Daylight savings time or no?

Spring Forward?

No Way, José!

Sunday, March 8, 2020.

The clock on the computer says it is 9:40 am. The clock in my brain says it’s 8:40 am. Where or where did that extra hour go?Daylight savings time (DST) was created by Germany during World War I to decrease energy use. Other countries, including the US, adopted it and then abandoned it after the war. Franklin Roosevelt instituted year-round DST on February 9, 1942. After 1945, most states switched to DST in the spring and summer and to standard time (ST) in the fall and winter.

On Friday, WBAL Radio had a news story about a bill in the Maryland Legislature to eliminate DST. I’m all for it! Why do we need to change the clocks every few months? Remember when your kids were little? Nap time and bedtime were off kilter for days. Grouchy kids, grouchy moms. Studies show an increased risk of car accidents and heart attacks following the change to DST due to the loss of an hour’s sleep. And, the actual impact on overall energy use is heavily disputed. (I smell a government conspiracy!)

Think about it. It’s July in Baltimore, another 90+ degree day with 86% humidity. You can’t breathe. The air is murky, and the Health Department has issued a Code Red day. Yet, the sun doesn’t set until 9 pm. It’s hot, sticky and unbearable most of the night. But what if the sun set at 8 pm? Wouldn’t that extra hour of darkness mean earlier cooling? I can stay comfortable all day in my central air-conditioned house (G-d forbid it breaks!), but how about the folks who don’t have a/c?

During the past four weeks, I’ve enjoyed the early morning light coming through my bedroom windows. Even with blackout shades, a corona of light encircles those windows at 6 am. My body begins to wake up. I pull up the shades and sunlight streams into the room. Today, at 7 am, maybe, just maybe, the sky was beginning to lighten. When I opened the shades at 7:30 am – eh! The bright sunlight I was used to seeing was an hour away.

And here’s another reason to get rid of DST. It has a horrible impact on those of us who keep the Jewish Sabbath and holidays. Shabbat and the holidays begin at sundown—approximately one hour before darkness. But rituals (think Passover Seder or eating in the Sukkah) can’t begin until it’s dark—an hour later! Because of DST, the Passover Seder (in April) usually doesn’t start much before 8:15 pm. By the time everyone sits down, the Hagaddahs are passed out, wine poured, etc., the real start time is 8:45 pm. It’s not unusual to begin eating the Seder meal at 11 pm.Shabbat ends so late in the summer. In Maryland, in the middle of summer, Shabbat ends after 9 pm. In northern states, such as Alaska, it ends after 10 pm! What about the summer fast day of Tisha B’Av (in July or August)? Fasting until 9:10 pm is agonizing!

I’m all for moving to parts of the country that don’t switch to daylight savings time – Arizona, Hawaii (yes!!), Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas. Anyone interested in joining me?

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