Jewish Holidays Remind Us to Be Mindful

Items for celebrating Rosh Hashanah

Every year, members of the Wolfpack who are also of the Jewish faith have the unnecessary burden of having to remind their professors, supervisors, colleagues or fellow students that important religious observations may preclude their attendance at school and work at these times.

One wonders why this is still a problem year after year. At a recent meeting of NC State senior administrators, one of NC State’s college deans reported that there had yet to be a single year during his long service to the university when a major meeting or event was not scheduled on one of the Jewish High Holy Days.

NC State, we can do better.

Sarah Cohn, campus director of Hillel, reminds us that Sunday night marked the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which concludes on Tuesday night. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins at sundown on Tuesday, October 8, and lasts until the evening of October 9. On Yom Kippur, many Jews fast from sundown to sundown.

“During these days, the holiest in the Jewish calendar, please be mindful of the needs of your Jewish students. These are days for reflection, connection and community. Some people withdraw in prayer and attend services. Others may refrain from social media and other forms of modern communication.

“Jewish students may require accommodations during this period for religious observance. Some may choose to attend class for presentations and exams so as not to miss out or fall behind. As possible, please be thoughtful and inclusive. Not all Jewish students choose to identify themselves publicly.”

Cohn provides the following tips for acknowledging the holiday with an appropriate greeting:

  • On Rosh Hashanah, say “Happy New Year” (or “Shanah tovah”).
  • On Yom Kippur it is appropriate to say “Have an easy fast.”

If you have questions, feel free to contact Sarah Cohn, campus director for Hillel, or the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity.

Please also read today’s statement from Interim Vice Provost Sheri Schwab about Respecting Worldview and Religious Differences within Our Community.

Calendar of Major Religious Holidays

Jewish holidays are just one of several faith-based holiday occurrences that are often overlooked. Please consult our list of major religious holidays for a calendar overlay of holidays to be mindful of across several major faiths, guidelines for attendance and work restrictions and other helpful information for faculty and staff.