With start of fall, many people look forward to holidays

With+start+of+fall%2C+many+people+look+forward+to+holidays

Eva Glazier

Over the past few months, the Jewish community has been celebrating the High Holidays and the holiest days in the Jewish calendar with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur is a day of reflection and thinking back on how one can become better. Both days are extremely important to most Jewish people and are a time for food, welcoming the new year, and spending time with family. However, due to the days falling on weekdays, I, as well as others in the Jewish community, did not have the luxury of being able to observe them to the fullest extent as we would have liked to this year. As a result, people should respect Jewish holidays and not schedule anything too important so Jewish people can celebrate their holidays without feeling like they are missing something.

Many argue that there are not enough Jewish people to justify modifying schedules to accommodate Jewish holidays. However, there are still 5.4 million Jewish people in the United States who identify as being Jewish. The United States Constitution guarantees freedom of religion and in order to truly practice this, both teachers and employers should be required to not schedule super important events on these days. For example, on Yom Kippur, I participate in a 25- hours fast and have been since my bat mitzvah. But this year, I had to contemplate whether I could fast and focus on the homework I was missing from being out on that day. Even having to rethink whether or not I should follow through with my religious practice for one moment because schoolwork got in the way made me realize the substantialness of this issue. When celebrating, we are reflecting on our connection and morals, and shouldn’t have to think about the AP Environmental Science test or work project we missed in the back of our minds. 

Further, many argue that Jewish holidays are respected enough with Hanukkah usually falling close to the traditional school winter breaks. However, this year, Hanukkah is coming up soon at the end of Nov. 28 and ending on Dec. 6, almost a month before the start of winter break. As a result, people can no longer justify “winter break” as celebrating and respecting Jewish holidays. 

In order to remedy these issues, I suggest making it mandatory for classes to not assign tests or quizzes on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur as well as taking time out of class to educate students on the basics of these holidays. Ultimately, this will foster respect for those who celebrate and lead people like me to celebrate the holiday and enjoy it to the full extent.

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the HiLite staff. Reach Eva Glazier at eglazier@hilite.org

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