Jewish students forced to choose: services or school

With no Rosh Hashannah off, students stress over missing school

David Heiman, Staff Writer

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As the Jewish new year rolls
around, many students are forced to
choose between their religion and
school.
The Jewish new year, known as
Rosh Hashannah, is usually a day off
of school. However, with the recent
construction, this has not been the
case this year.
Jewish students are forced to
decide between staying up-to-date in
classes, and going to services.
“I think its unfair to the Jewish
students at the school because if
they miss classes, they fall behind,”
junior Alex De Trempe said. “I think
it is a really hard choice to make, and
while I can’t relate to their situation,
I understand why it’s hard.”
If students do end up missing
school, they might start falling
behind in class, which leads to
consequences throughout the year. “I
missed school on Rosh Hashannah,
and I fell behind in some of my
classes,” said junior Matt Metrick. “I
had to make up a lot of work, it was
really hard and the school makes it
very difficult for students to decide
between school and their faith.”
While a lot of students are
against having school that day, some
don’t consider it to be that big of a
deal.
Sophomore Dante Becker
said, “My dad is Jewish, but I don’t
celebrate. I get why people are upset,
but if they don’t want to fall behind
in classes, then they should come to
school.”
Becker wasn’t alone in this
sentiment. Junior James Snyder said,
“I think that if Jewish students didn’t
want to fall behind in school, then
they should skip services and go to
school that day.”
Some teachers seem not to
consider the predicament Jewish
students find themselves in. “Even
though teachers are not supposed
to assign homework that day, most
teachers still give homework and
some even give tests and quizzes
those days,” Becker said.
The fact that some teachers
assign homework and give exams
upsets students. “It really annoys
me because I go to school expecting
to not have homework that day, but
not only did I have homework, I had
two exams that day,” junior Emma
Schwartz said.
Some students agree that an
ideal compromise would be a day
of attendance similar to the MLK
seminar day. A few students liked the
idea of having seminars about Jewish
history.
Junior Lucas Gottshall said, “I
think that would be a cool idea. I
don’t know a lot about Jewish history,
but I would like to learn about it.”
“I don’t really know a lot about
Judaism, but it would be interesting
to learn about,” said Snyder.
Jewish or not, many students
have opinions about attending school
on Rosh Hashannah.
Some feel that if we are forced
to have school on non-Christian
holidays, we should have school
on Christian holidays. When asked
about this idea, Schwartz said,
“While I understand why New Trier
prioritizes Christian holidays over
non-christian holidays, it is annoying
for the people who aren’t Christian
since we are forced to pick between
school and religion, but Christian
people at the school are not.” She is
not the only one who feels this way.
Gottshall said, “I guess it makes
sense to have school on Christian
holidays, we have to go to school
on Jewish holidays and that forces
Jewish students to make sacrifices. It
makes sense for Christians to make
the same sacrifice.”

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