It took years for the Board of Education to understand that Jewish High Holiday dates change every year. They are never the same for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. The calendar that determines on which day the holiday occurs is a lunar calendar and the two major holidays rarely if ever will fall on the same day every year.

While teachers were instructed not to begin a new study on the Jewish holidays, rarely is that rule followed. The Jewish population has increased significantly, increasing the number of students affected. I graduated from FHS in 1946. Can’t tell you how many days I was in synagogue and missed school.

Rita Gordon

Frederick

(12) comments

Moon otter

Well did ever think about the pagan and wiccan rituals, The eight sabbats and twelve-thirteen esbats (full moon) that one does there a lot of times they don't fall on weekends but we never complained. With it being the fastest religion in America, we should have schools closed too. Personally the winter break should start right before the new year and go a full week. This way if it snows they are already off. Rarely does it ever snow heavy enough for the schools to be closed except in the mountains.

public-redux

And then there is Atheist Day, which happened to fall on a Saturday this year. There are more of us than Jews and Muslims combined. We never complain either.

DickD

What did the schools do to accommodate you? Did they give you work that could be done from home? Did they allow extra time during the school year to make up for the classes missed?

jsklinelga

Ms. Gordon,
Being so active in the community certainly you know Maryland law.

"By Maryland law, public school calendars must include days off for Christmas Eve through Jan. 1, Good Friday and Easter Monday. The districts also must take off Thanksgiving Day and the day after, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, and primary and general election days."

There is no law for religious holidays in public schools in MD. Some hold, wrongly I feel, that it would be unconstitutional. Secular reasoning for days off around religious holidays is based strictly on the % of people affected. As the Muslim religion is the fastest growing in the US and there are nearly the same percentages of Jewish and Muslim adherents within the US I would presume that Muslim holidays, as is happening in other areas, will be considered before Jewish holidays. Considering the substantial contribution that people of the Jewish faith have made to our country that does not seem fair.

public-redux

[thumbup] Exactly right.

DickD

Jim, you are religious, I know. What do you consider;" Christmas Eve through Jan. 1, Good Friday and Easter Monday" If they are not for religious reasons, I'll eat my shirt!

public-redux

The point, Dick, is that absenteeism of both students and staff would likely be sufficiently high so as to disrupt the educational process of the school. It would be a waste of public resources to be open on days when the school's ability to fulfill its secular purpose is compromised. The trick, I suppose, is figuring out how much absenteeism is too much. I suspect that the answer is in the single digits (over and above the usual reasons such as illness).

Moon otter

Last time I checked Christmas is one day, Easter always falls on a Sunday. Good Friday nobody care about unless your Catholic. My religious holidays fall according to the full moon (Esbats), my eight Sabbats are based on calendar dates. Can fall on the weekend. But WE don't complain.

public-redux

Moon, It doesn't really matter if relatively high rates of absenteeism stem from religious or non-religious reasons. The schools aren't closed to recognize religion but to serve the secular purpose of education. Hard to educate kids who aren't there. And if enough (whatever that fraction is) kids aren't there, then it is counterproductive to be open. You just wind up wasting time the next open day.

jsklinelga

DickD
Of course they are for religious reasons but that can't be said. The law must be tweaked so as to placate the liberal factions (no laws or policies based on religion.) If you ask me the law is a real lemon.

public-redux

"liberal factions"?

You're quite incorrect there. It is conservatives who don't want the government messing around in kids' religious education. We know that would be bad for government and even worse for religion.

public-redux

"It took years for the Board of Education to understand that Jewish High Holiday dates change every year."

Which is odd because the same thing is true of Good Friday. It is always the Friday before the first Sunday after the first Full Moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox.

You'd think that someone who understands how a lunar calendar works in one case would be able to generalize the concept. It almost makes one wonder if the issue might have been something other than understanding a lunar calendar.

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