The High Holy days are the most important holidays of the Jewish year. As a result, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, and Yom Kippur, a day of atonement, result in a day off from school. For most Gables students, the long weekend and Teacher Planning Day 10 days later offer extra time for relaxation or homework, but, for observant Jews, it means a line-up of family dinners, services, and fasting.
Oftentimes, teachers makeup for these interruptions in the week with extra home learning activities or projects. Other students praise the “holy” day off from school. Unfortunately, many Jewish students can’t as they don’t have much time for work that weekend. The high holy days are filled to the brim with time at the synagogue (jewish place of worship) and as a result, homework and study time suffers.
Many teachers and students aren’t aware of the significance of such holidays, or even that they are occurring. Discovering a remedy for this problem will be hard, but clearly a compromise needs to be made; especially given that this isn’t the only time of year that the celebration of important holidays is affected.
Every year, school lets out for two weeks in December to allow for the celebration of Christmas and New Year’s. Given the vast amount of holidays that the school board has to account for when scheduling the school year, holiday’s celebrated by minorities have to be overlooked in order to meet the correct amount of school days. Hanukkah tends to be almost over by the time school is let out for break and families aren’t able to enjoy the holiday’s significance adequately given the chaos of school work and related activities.
“I think it’s extremely unfair. I understand that Christianity is the majority religion so obviously there’s going to be more done for Christian holidays versus Jewish holidays because we’re a minority; but I do think that it’s unfair that I only get one day off…to celebrate something that’s important to me, and I still have to do all this homework…so it kind of defeats the purpose of the holiday. I think that something should be done because…I don’t get to spend time with my family when that’s what you are supposed to be doing because I have to spend it doing homework,” senior Gaby Martinez said.
Holidays are an integral part of many religions- a time that is supposed to be filled with tradition, family, and honoring the traditions you follow. Yet, with the workload that comes with many of these days off, the celebrations tend to suffer.