“What are you doing tonight? There’s no school tomorrow…” This is a question I have heard several times during the course of the week. While most students and faculty members at Oswego State will be throwing back a beer and enjoying sleeping in on our day off, there are Jewish students at Oswego State who are actually trying to celebrate a holiday that faces many limitations. Firstly, the fact that this week we have only one day off during the two-day Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah is unbelievably maddening. For students like myself that would prefer to be at home welcoming the Jewish New Year with their families, it is difficult to achieve this with having just one day off.
Compared to other schools such as Binghamton University or the City University of Baruch, Oswego State has only a fraction of the time off. Binghamton has canceled classes from last Friday all the way through Monday. These universities allow their Jewish students to observe the new year appropriately by allowing them the necessary time to pray all day, feast together with their families and enjoy sweet apples dipped in honey, which signifies a sweet new year.
In addition to turning down offers to party with friends that are not celebrating, I also needed to turn down two school-related meetings that were scheduled during the holiday and miss a quiz on Friday that my professor refuses to give to me at any other time. Thus, I am forfeiting a percentage of my grade in order to celebrate. The fact that I have to miss a quiz in order to fully celebrate Rosh Hashanah is unfair. I could have been accommodated. As an involved media student, it aggravates me that I had to miss the WNYO general meeting that was being held Wednesday, at 9 p.m., which is scheduled just at the time the holiday begins to blossom. Thursday, a meeting for The Great Lake Review was held, regardless of the lack of classes. The e-mail regarding the meeting reads as follows: “We do NOT have school this day, but this meeting was scheduled before any of us realized the date,” as well as in boldface “It is important to note that this will be our only meeting this month,” and was signed “The Great Lake Review.” Not only did the members running this meeting not try to change the date of the meeting, but this will be the only meeting students can attend all month. Looks like the Jews are out of luck.
Typing from a lonely table in Syracuse Airport, I do not regret my decision to fly into JFK airport and miss my Friday classes in order to spend the time with my family. Though the Chabad club at Oswego State does a superior job at accommodating Jewish students and community members, most college students would prefer to be at home with their families and friends, or at least I would. In fact, as I neared the gate, I could count four other Oswego State students that were also flying to New York City to make it home. It is completely unacceptable that students should only get Thursday off of school, making it near impossible for anyone that lives outside of the surrounding area to go home and come back to school in time without missing any classes. The holiday begins Wednesday night at sundown, and had my parents not had the means to fly me home, I would have been home at 1 a.m., completely missing the meal. Luckily, I will arrive at 9 p.m. to a home full of the aromas of fresh-cooked soup and turkey, and my family waiting for me.