As I understand it, a day in the Jewish calendar is from sunset to sunset. How is this handled if you are living so far north or south that you have long periods of daylight or darkness?


2 Answers 2


This affects when Shabbat and yom tov start and end and when you can perform time-bound mitzvot. There are various opinions (some collected here), so this is something you need to consult your rabbi on. Opinions cited there include: use the times for your home city (if you're visiting); use 6PM; use the point when the sun is at its lowest in the sky.

I once learned that you use the time of the nearest Jewish community that has daily sunrise/sunset, but I can't find support for that now.

  • 2
    I once spent three weeks in Barrow AK in July, and my rabbi poskened that as I was merely visiting, I should keep Shabbat based on the clock time of when Shabbat would begin in NYC, my hometown; but if I were going to be there permanently, I should keep the clock time of Vancouver, the nearest large Jewish community. Commented May 12, 2011 at 0:19
  • @Andrew M. Greene, how long ago was that? Because there's a much closer community, Anchorage. (That's not as large as Vancouver, granted, but does it really depend on the size of the community, or just on whether it has a permanent minyan? If the latter is true, then Anchorage should count.)
    – Alex
    Commented May 12, 2011 at 4:43
  • @Alex, @Andrew M. Greene, a point that might be of interest: As of 1988, Anchorage, while it had a religious Jewish community, did not have a synagogue. (Prayers were in homes. This also meant that they did not recite the b'racha meen sheva.)
    – msh210
    Commented May 12, 2011 at 6:58
  • @msh210: fair enough, but now they do have a shul. (I was there last summer.)
    – Alex
    Commented May 12, 2011 at 14:37

According to the entry "Calendar" in the Jewish Encyclopedia (Funk & Wagnalls, New York, 1916)

In higher latitudes, where during the summer the sun does not sink below the horizon, and during the winter does not rise above it, the days are counted in summer from midday, i.e. from one upper crossing of the meridian by the sun to the next crossing; in the winter, from midnight to midnight, i.e. from one lower crossing of the meridian by the sun to the next. (Vol. 3, p. 501)

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