I was personally offended by the Nov. 9 story about schools remaining open on Yom Kippur, the highest holy day in Judaism. Frederick has a rich history of a vibrant Jewish population and we have been part of this community since its founding (see “The Jews Beneath the Clustered Spires: Historic Frederick and the Jews Who Lived and Worked There” [Paul Gordon, Rita Gordon]), a former mayor and his wife. Frederick currently has three active Jewish congregations: the Chabad off East Ninth Street (an Orthodox congregation), Beth Shalom on North Market Street (a Conservative congregation across from the YMCA), and Kol Ami (a Reform congregation that meets at the Unitarian Universalist facilities). While each of these congregations observes this high holy day in a somewhat different manner, it is still our day of fasting, atonement and reflection.

While I don’t know the size of Frederick’s Jewish population, I can say with confidence that many of the services I have attended have almost 100 people in attendance. And, just like any other religions, many don’t attend services or affiliate themselves with a particular congregation. What I do know is that almost every other person I’ve met of the Jewish faith observes this high holy day. Yom Kippur translates to “Day of Atonement.” It’s our day to atone for our sins as the new year starts (Rosh Hashana means “head of the year” or new year). I can’t imagine anyone on the school board deciding to keep schools open on Christmas or Easter.

I think eliminating Fair Day would make more sense. Students can attend the fair on weekends or, if they have animals at the fair, take an excused absence. But to penalize students and teachers for practicing their religion is, in my opinion, unforgivable.

David Kaye

Frederick

(37) comments

MrHitshed

Well said, Mr. Kaye. I completely agree.

DickD

Why don't they just have the "Great Frederick Fair" during the summer, like most places? The Jewish Holidays do need to be observed, give them the two they want and any additional would be excused absences. Winter and Easter breaks can be shortened to make up lost time.

teapartier

Since next week is Thanksgiving for whom shall we give credit for starting this tradition of a "fall feast".

A) The 77th Congress
B) President Abraham Lincoln
C) President George Washington
D) Colonial Governor Jonathan Belcher
or
E) The Jews

phydeaux994

Take away Fair day and a teachers workday. Keep the Jewish holidays. What about the Jewish teachers? What do they do?

threecents

I completely agree with this letter. If there is school on Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana, then most Jewish kids and teachers will miss two days of school. Since there are a lot of Jews in Frederick, there should not be school those days.

rbtdt5

what are the numbers? How many Jews students and teachers are there?

hayduke2

Maybe, since we are no longer the agrarian society we once were, we should look at year round school. Something like 8 weeks on, two weeks off throughout the school year. http://education.seattlepi.com/yearround-school-advantages-disadvantages-2521.html

des21

Absolutely agree, HD. (I'd have 3 weeks off 4 xs a year but that's a minor detail.) We'd still keep 180 school days and I could finally vacation in Autumn![beam]

public-redux

Yeah, it was great when we could finally vacation in the fall again.

phydeaux994

Year around school has been tried and failed in most cases. It plays havoc with scheduling family vacations and child care. Parents hate it.

des21

You make the common mistake of thinking that school content and scheduling is designed with students and parents in mind.

threecents

I would think year-round school would make child care easier, and they could reduce the summer break to 1 month.

hayduke2

Which cases are you referring to and why would it create problems for family vacations and child care that is any different than what families face currently?

phydeaux994

Every County has its own system and calender. Are you saying that a whole State or Country adopt the same schedule? The case I know of was in Prince William County Va. in the 70's and it failed. The scholastic benefits must be considerable to justify the disadvantages of year-round schools and that has not been the case.

hayduke2

phy - take a look at https://www.statisticbrain.com/year-round-school-statistics/

phydeaux994

I took a look. Are you arguing that these statistics imply that year-round schools are better? I say they prove just the opposite.

hayduke2

It would have to be a county wide mandate. Generally, year round schools do slightly better than non-year round schools and , at the very least, no worse. In addition, they utilize the school buildings more efficiently and provide for a better continuity of instruction.

hayduke2

How so - drop out rate is less, math and reading gains are greater. Parents split about 50-50 in this snapshot.

shiftless88

phydeaux; that is because not everything changes so activities get out of sync. If all schools do this then everyone will adjust.

phydeaux994

Every County has its own system and calender. Are you saying that a whole State or Country adopt the same schedule? The case I know of was in Prince William County Va. in the 70's and it failed. The scholastic benefits must be considerable to justify the disadvantages of year-round schools and that has not been the case.

Moon otter

I say add six religious floating holidays that the students can use throughout the school year as excused absences as long as they declare what religion they are practicing or from parents. We would get rid of winter break and spring break. It will be up to the student to get the work from the teacher before hand.
I used six because Wiccans have eight religious days of which six are in the school year.

DickD

You know, that makes good sense, Moon. [thumbup]

public-redux

The silence from the Christians on this issue is deafening.

Changing the cross in Bladensburg was decried as an attack on religion by a goodly number of commenters. Where are those folks now?

des21

Are you hostile toward all religions pub or just Christianity? Just curious.

Moon otter

des21
The floating holidays are for all religions. I used six of the eight in Wicca cause those fall in the school year. Christians only have four Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter and Christmas. The Jewish religion have multiple days for their major religious holidays. Guess they never be in school. Lol. As I said Wicca has eight major sabbats and 13 esbats of which 6/9 total 15 within the school year. I would only stick with the six sabbats within the school cause our esbats are at night. Other religions no clue. Like I said make them floating religious holidays. If teachers are out then substitutes are in order.

des21

Hindus have scores of holy days.

Moon otter

des21
the list is endless so pick a number for floating religious holidays for students. Just that hey have to make up the work for those days missed. Teaches a bit of responsibility in the process.

public-redux

Hostile? No at all. I dislike hypocrisy, regardless of what it is associated with. The Bladensburg monument is a Christian cross so I'm not sure why I would have mentioned some other religion in connection with it. The cross was in the news lately, you know, and there was some active commentary on it. A lot of commentary centered on the point that removing or modifying the cross would be anti-religion generally and anti-Christianity in particular. You could check out the FNP archives if you don't remember. Given their defense of the cross, I'd think Christians would be all over this instance of government "hostility" to the Jewish community. Certainly any one who ever used the term "Judeo-Christian".

FWIW, I'm as indifferent to religion as I am to leprechaunism except to the extent that either one attempts to use government to advance its aims. I suppose I'll sound off about leprechaunism as much as I do about religious encroachment when it becomes necessary.

teapartier

Heck it's only 10:30 AM not everyone wakes up and jumps on the old keyboard. But I'll speak up. I believe there should be 7 official "Religious" holidays, Easter, Christmas, Rosh hashanah, Yom Kipper, Eid Al-Fitr, Eid Al-Adha, and for those who don't practice and non-believers maybe "Earth Day" would be a consideration. If we observe one religion, we must observe all or observe none.

benedictus

Or we can base it on projected attendance, like we do now.

Reader1954

yes fair day is a wasted day. That should be a school day

Elsa

I agree that it should be an excused day off for those that celebrate the holiday. NOT close school for all.

Psizzle

So keep your kids home, their yours.

hayduke2

So, would your response be the same if it were Christmas or Easter that was the focus of the discussion?

jwhamann

Students wouldn't care. It'd just be a day off.

sevenstones1000

Jewish students would care.

jwhamann

Start the school calendar from scratch and just make it one big generic 'What Ever Religion You Are or Aren't' day of observance.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences, not personal attacks. Ad hominen criticisms are not allowed. Focus on ideas instead.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
No trolls. Off-topic comments and comments that bait others are not allowed.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
Say it once. No repeat or repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.