Jews Must Make Tough Choice Between Work, School and Religion

Posted on September 29, 2008 In Blog

Without doubt, this year’s fall holiday schedule is less than favorable when dealing with days to be taken off of work and/or school. As the Sun Sentinel reports, “If you’re an observant Jew, there are seven religious holidays in the next month that you will have to take off from work or school. Two days of Rosh Hashanah, which begins today at sundown, one day for Yom Kippur, two days for Sukkot, one day for Shemini Atzeret and one day for Simhat Torah. That’s a lot of lost work time.”

“When the holidays fall on Saturday or Sunday, or even Friday or Monday, observant Jews can make a long weekend out of the annual religious festivals, a time of prayer, forgiveness, repentance and rejoicing. But this year, all the holidays are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Many say they had to do some soul-searching to figure out how to ask their bosses or teachers for days off, or whether to ask at all.”

Indeed, these concerns are demonstrative of the uphill battle many American Jews face year round in how to balance their religious devotion with the demands of the American workplace and school schedule. Accordingly, this is why the OU works towards such policies as the Workplace Religious Freedom Act, which contains provisions for those religious employees – whether Jewish or of other faiths – to not be penalized due to their religious practices. For no religious person should have to concede their beliefs and practices when reasonable accommodations can be made.