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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Entrenched Schizophrenia in The Israeli Calendar

On the whole, the State of Israel functions according to the Jewish Calendar.  Official state holidays and school vacations are all in accordance with Jewish Law and Calendar.  The biggest national clash is the opening of the school year.  That's today, September 1.  Most years that's fine for all the schools, state-religious (mamlachti-dati) and state-secular (mamlachti.)  The traditional time for the opening of yeshivot, religious Torah seminaries, is the first of the Jewish Month of Elul, the month before Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish New Year.

According to Jewish Law, our New Year is an extremely important spiritual time, an interactive spiritual time when we are supposed to make an accounting of our lives, deeds etc of the past year and beseech G-d to forgive our sins so we can begin the new year clean and pure.  That's not something done vacationing, shopping and goofing off.  So many schools and school districts must make a crucial decision, one permitted by Israeli Law.  Should school open before the first of September or not?

The schools which only open today have less than a week of school before the Rosh Hashannah vacation/Holiday begins.  That isn't enough time.

That's why many schools began earlier causing problems within families, neighborhoods etc.  Our local school district, the Benjamin Regional Council had school open this past Sunday, August 29, so there would be just over a full week of school before Rosh Hashannah.  The days will be made up as added (bridge) vacations during the year.

It may sound complicated, but it's far better than trying to live a full Torah Judaism life out of Israel.  One of our young relatives went to an American university which had been specifically targeting itself as suitable for Orthodox Jews.  She managed pretty well, except that her graduation was davka on the Jewish Holiday of Shavuot.  So, with all the faults and difficulties in Israel, there are far more advantages.

Shanah Tovah, Gmar Chatima Tovah


Anonymous said...

im surprised at you. thank god, theres a religious revival here in israel.
but even if there werent we should be here.

Batya said...

Why surprised?
I think the schools should start two weeks before Rosh Hashannah, unless that first day would be a Thursday or Friday. There should be ten learning days minimum before the Holyday.

Unknown said...

Many day schools here (in the US) deliberately start the week before Rosh Hashana in order to davka get the children into the classrooms so that they know where to go and get their books before the Yomim Tovim. Since they will be out of school for the entire Succoth, it is set up so that they can learn about the chagim, not about the actual school studies.

My grandchildren are now in school.

It is not only school that causes problems. My father was given trouble about not going to work on the second day of Rosh Hashana because the "rabbi" that they asked did not know about the second day of Yom Tov at all.

Rabbi Berel Wein (when he was a lawyer) had trouble when a (Jewish) judge wanted to schedule a hearing on shavuos. When Rabbi Wein explained why he could not be there, the judge refused to believe it was a Jewish holiday because he had never learned about it.

Batya said...

Oy, things are far from perfect here in Israel but still without some of those "Shavuot? Never heard if it."
Shavuot, like Slichot has become popular with those who don't consider themselves religious.

Anonymous said...

sorry i wasnt clear enough, i will try harder now.
i meant that the level of torah observance in israel relative to chul should be irrelevant. this is israel, for crying out loud!