A lot of things get scheduled on major Jewish holidays, in a way that prevents Jews from being able to participate. This needs to stop.
If you’re in charge of scheduling things like:
- Public school orientations
- College orientations
- Exam schedules
- Field trips
- Other important events
Please avoid scheduling on major Jewish holidays. The most important ones to avoid are:
- Rosh Hashana
- Yom Kippur
- The first two nights of Passover
These holidays are at slightly different times each year, because the Jewish calendar is lunar. Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are in the fall, Passover is in the Spring. You can check when they are at hebcal.com, and hebcal.com also has a calendar you can subscribe to that says when the holidays are.
Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are the times at which Jews who don’t go to synagogue at any other time of year go. (In the same way that some Christians only go to church on Easter and Christmas). They are also major family holidays, even for people who are otherwise secular. Yom Kippur is a 25 hour fast (from both food and water) and most people who observe it are pretty wiped out immediately afterwards.
The first two nights of Passover are when Jewish families hold Passover seders. It’s a major family holiday, even for people who do not consider themselves religious and never go to synagogue at all. Nearly all Jewish families have some sort of seder.
It is considerate to also avoid scheduling important events that would require travel on the day before and after these major holidays. It is critical to avoid scheduling events on the holidays themselves.
There are other Jewish holidays that will create conflicts for some Jews, but they’re not as important to most Jewish people.
tl;dr: If you value Jewish participation and solidarity with Jews, it is critically important to avoid scheduling important events on on Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and the first two nights of Passover.
The Hebrew calendar measures days from sunset to sunset, so a single-day holiday will span two dates on the Gregorian (civil/secular) calendar. If the calendar you’re using doesn’t say ‘Yom Kippur begins at sundown,’ check another calendar to verify which Gregorian evening and day will have the holiday observance(s).
That too. Thank you.