Here in Israel we just celebrated the Jewish new year. Year 5775 is off to a good start with two days of rest and celebration and a Shabbat to top it off. Having three consecutive days of rest is wonderful. Hearing less traffic from our window is a blessing, and the return to normal life today is the more disappointing. I can only look forward to the next Shabbat, which will be both Shabbat and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. While that is the most holy day in the year, and a very solemn one, it is also the most beautiful day in Israel in my opinion. It is the day the traffic stops.
In my youth, there was an oil crisis. The resulting car free Sundays belong to my fondest memories. We children went to the roads that were normally packed with cars, and roller skated, or bicycled, or just walked, in the middle of the asphalt. It was pure bliss to do what was strictly forbidden on any other day.
Nowadays, in Jerusalem, what I enjoy the most is hearing birds instead of cars. Jerusalem’s children, however, do exactly what I used to do back then: bicycle, or walk, or skate board, in the middle of the asphalt.
Since things are not perfect yet, and we live close to two important highways, we will hear cars and ambulances, even on Yom Kippur. But we will be able to enjoy the mostly unpolluted air and the birds. I can hardly wait!