[by Matt Goldberg, Director]
Jewish Community Relations Council School and the Jewish holidays
I have a heard from more than a few parents recently that they are ready for school to start up again, and I bet kids are ready as well (although they probably would not admit it). As school starts up again, it is important to be vigilant to make sure that our kids are allowed to celebrate and observe the Jewish holidays without any academic or disciplinary repercussions.
Our relationship with the local public school systems is very good. They know about our holidays and they know about the strict observance requirements with which many in our community attempt to comply. Still, every year, I receive phone calls from parents with complaints that teachers demand kids come to school after high holidays Synagogue attendance. Or their absences are unexcused if they miss school. Or they will not be allowed to make up a test given on a holiday.
Or a teacher does not believe that Rosh Hashanah (Or the first and last days of Sukkot) might be a two-day holiday.Other, school related issues I have dealt with include proselytizing at local summer camps that are conducted by public schools on their property. I have heard all of these in the last three years, I am certain I will get phone calls like these this year.
If you experience any problems like this, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. Most of the time, these issues are easily solved with a simple phone call. Our local school systems not only have guidelines and policies that every teacher and administrator is made aware of, but they are really very accommodating and the principals are almost always eager to rectify any situation that comes up.
Your JCRC is a community resource, and we are eager to help with any situation in school (or anywhere else you feel appropriate).
Our Jewish Community Relations Council took a tour of the Dare to Care (the primary recipient of funds raised through the Hunger Walk) facility recently, and it was a truly enriching experience. We learned that a small percentage of the food they receive is from food drives, another small percentage is purchased by Dare to Care, however, the vast majority of their food is donated by supermarkets, manufacturers, etc.
What this means is the money raised goes VERY far. One dollar raised can feed four people, and Dare to Care feeds hundreds of thousands of people in the greater Kentuckiana area including those who use JFCS’s Dare to Care affiliated food pantry. Join our team “Jewish Louisville” (www.thehungerwalk.org).
Middle East chaos
The Middle East is descending into chaos … not a good thing for Israel. Syria is a failed state; Egypt is on its way to ever greater turmoil and uncertainty; the Syrian civil war has now spread to Lebanon; and Jordan’s monarchy, losing domestic support, has had to relinquish some power recently.
Ironically, the Palestinians are the most stable of all of Israel’s neighbors. Regional distress, in a strange way, might push the Israelis and Palestinians closer together as a peace agreement will promote domestic stability.
After Israel released a certain number of Palestinian prisoners, both sides are now in the process of talking about parameters for future final status negotiations. This coming holiday season, let’s keep Israel and her people in our thoughts and prayers, and let’s hope the Peace that Israel has always hoped for is at hand in the coming year.