From reckoning to biking: Who are the Yom Kippur bicyclists?

The biking population on Yom Kippur is mostly composed of children.

September 12, 2018 17:40
1 minute read.
Yom Kippur

An Israeli boy rides his bike on an empty motorway during Yom Kippur in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Biking might become an important Yom Kippur tradition, or at least a widely accepted practice in Israeli society, according to a recent study carried out by the Jewish People Policy Institute.

According to the study, the biking population on Yom Kippur is mostly composed of children, especially those of Israeli Jews who identify as "Traditional" or "Secular." In contrast, Jews defining themselves as “Haredi” or “Traditional” do not bike on Yom Kippur.

In total, only 7% of all Jewish Israeli adults said they bike on Yom Kippur, while on regular weekdays, 40% of adults cycle.

But while adults might refrain from riding bikes on the holiday due to their religious adherence, this does not transfer to their children: 34% of adults said their children ride bikes on the holiday which, taking into consideration how many adults have kids old enough to ride bicycles, means that almost half of Israeli children (43%) ride bikes on Yom Kippur.

Biking statistics for Yom Kippur (JEWISH PEOPLE POLICY INSTITUTE)
Even among populations which identify as “National Haredi,” where no adults cycle on Yom Kippur, a significant percentage of children ride bikes.

With biking on Yom Kippur becoming more acceptable, together with it becoming an important tradition among the younger generation, the survey concludes it is likely that the number of adults who cycle on the holiday will significantly rise in the future.

The survey was conducted using data from several rounds of interviews involving 3,000 respondents in total, with a margin of error of 1.8%.

The JPPI, established by the Jewish Agency for Israel, is a think tank that focuses on ensuring the “thriving of the Jewish people,” by strategic analysis and long-term action-oriented policy planning.

The institute is headed by Avinoam Bar-Yosef, and co-chaired by former US Ambassador to the European Union Stuart Eizenstat and former US Middle East coordinator Dennis Ross.

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