Path of totality is leading locals to Ohio for April 8 eclipse
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Path of totality is leading locals to Ohio for April 8 eclipse

Next time it will be this good in Cleveland is 2444

A total solar eclipse is seen on Monday, August 21, 2017 above Madras, Oregon. (Photo by NASA/Aubrey Gemignani via Flickr at
A total solar eclipse is seen on Monday, August 21, 2017 above Madras, Oregon. (Photo by NASA/Aubrey Gemignani via Flickr at

Brynna Trimble is driving to Ohio for the total solar eclipse on April 8.

Where, specifically, she isn’t sure yet.

With the celestial event spanning 124 miles across the Buckeye State, the  Community Day School educator said she plans on deciding the night before or even that Monday morning.

Trimble wants to see the eclipse in a park but said conditions will likely influence her final destination.

The National Weather Service is predicting “a bit more cloud cover” in areas including Cleveland.

Still, Trimble is headed to Ohio and hoping for a great experience.

In 2017, she and her friends drove to North Carolina to see the moon positioned between Earth and the sun. The trip took more than eight hours there and 12 hours back.

“It was like half the country leaving a concert at the same time,” Trimble said.

Between 150,000 and 575,000 people are expected to enter Ohio for the total solar eclipse, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

Squirrel Hill resident Ilana Kanal will be among the masses but said she’s driving to Cleveland on Sunday.

Kanal, along with her husband and children, will stay at her sister’s house and work remotely that Monday.

Around 3:15 p.m. on April 8, Kanal will go outdoors and spend a few minutes basking in the darkness.

“It’s a small effort to see something that happens so infrequently,” she said.

According to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the next time the city will be in the path of totality is 2444.

Observers are seen in shadow during a total solar eclipse on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, that directly passed over the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory. (Photo by NASA/Goddard/Rebecca Roth via Flickr at

As a lead-up to next week’s trip, Kanal plans on attending a webinar from Star-K, a Baltimore-based kosher certification agency, covering eclipse-related questions.

In 2017, the organization hosted a similar class and was asked whether a blessing is recited for an eclipse.

Although earthquakes, thunder and lightning are cause for blessing, “a bracha is not recited upon viewing a solar or lunar eclipse,” Star-K noted at the time.

The Rabbinical Assembly, an international association of Conservative rabbis, reached an alternative conclusion in 2017: One who witnesses an eclipse should “ideally” recite, “Blessed are You, God, Ruler of the Universe, whose power and strength fill the world.”

A general blessing of, “Blessed are You, God, Ruler of the Universe, who performs the work of creation,” is also acceptable, according to the group.

Cantor Regina Heit, director of education at Temple Sinai, said she’ll make a bracha upon seeing the eclipse — whether she’s standing in the parking lot of Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, Ohio, or somewhere en route.

“I say blessings all the time,” Heit said.

The Shadyside resident, who moved to Pittsburgh from Colorado two years ago, said she used to recite blessings on mountaintops when skiing.

“We should appreciate what we have on this earth,” she said. A total solar eclipse is a perfect opportunity to “appreciate the light that God gives us.”

Heit is traveling to Ohio on April 8 with her husband, their son, daughter-in-law and grandson for a two-day retreat.

“To see it with my family — to share that moment with three generations — that is way cool,” she said.

Classic Jewish leaders agree.

In 1927, students of Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan joined the Lithuanian sage outside his yeshiva in Radin, Poland, for the total solar eclipse.

Rabbi Shmuel Pliskin, who later documented the experience, noted that Kagan told students the evening before that it is “a mitzvah to see the sun eclipsed.”

To fulfill the precept, Kagan, who was called the Chofetz Chaim, rose early on the morning of the eclipse and prayed Shacharit “with the community at an earlier time than all other days,” Pliskin wrote. When the moon finally passed in front of the sun, Kagan donned a “special, triple thick, darkened pair of glasses.”

The importance of wearing protective eyewear cannot be overstated, according to Jason Lewin, chief marketing officer of American Paper Optics.

Using the lid from a coffee canister is probably not recommended. (Photo by JCHaywire via Flickr at

The Tennessee-based company makes eclipse glasses for NASA, has a partnership with Bill Nye the Science Guy and produced more than 1 million items for Warby Parker, Lewin said.

He encouraged people to acquire glasses from a “reputable vendor.”

Good glasses have certain qualities, Lewin continued: The manufacturer’s name and address are typically on one temple, and instructions are on the other temple.

“I know it seems simple, but if you get aspirin, you still have to look on the back [for] directions on when to take and why,” he said.

Along with name, address and instructions, reliable glasses contain information that the item meets the ISO 12312-2 international standard safety requirements. Finally, eclipse glasses produced by American Paper Optics have lenses that are silvery on the outside and black on the inside, Lewin said: These are “100,000 times darker than a regular pair of sunglasses” and block 100% of harmful ultraviolet and infrared rays and 99.999% of intense visible light.

Along with American Paper Optics, the American Astronomical Society lists several recommended sellers.

“We don’t want to cause panic,” but the takeaway, Lewin said, is that however people experience the eclipse, they should be cautious and thoughtful.

“This is the most bipartisan moment of 2024 — everybody’s out there rooting for the same thing — we’re not divided,” he said. “It’s like this one cool moment. Do it safely.” PJC

Adam Reinherz can be reached at

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