What would it look like if your entire city shut down for the day? What if no cars, busses, or motorcycles were allowed to operate? What if no one picked up their cell phones for 24 hours? In Israel last Wednesday during Yom Kippur—the Jewish Day of Atonement—that's exactly what happened. And that's what happens every year.
These practices derive from religious traditions suggesting people fast and rest on this holy day; they also have a positive impact on the environment and one's peace of mind. By taking a full day off from fumes, exhaust, noise, and chaos, we have the opportunity to enjoy the little, quieter moments—like hitting the reset button. From that, beautiful moments occur. Without cars, bicycles populate the roads instead and pedestrians walk freely in the middle of what are normally the most heavily trafficked streets. People observe the silence.
For Tel Aviv-based photographer Yaeer Eldar, Yom Kippur offered a rare opportunity to be one of the only ones out in the middle of the Ayalon Freeway—one of the busiest freeways that connects all other major highways leading to Tel Aviv. On average, nearly 600,000 vehicles enter the highway daily, but last Wednesday at 6:00 a.m., without another soul around, Eldar and his friend Arthur Rashkovan went skateboarding.
The result of their early morning outing was of course, peace of mind, but also this visual representation of what it looks like to turn off for the day. "It's pretty amazing when you think about it," said Eldar.
What would you do with an entire highway to yourself?