Jewish students forced to make choice

“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.

3 thoughts on “Jewish students forced to make choice

  1. This is no different than what Christians have to absorb when there is school on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. So i would stop feeling like you are a victim Shanna and the school/world is against you. Be grateful you have a faith and move on. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
    Don.

  2. It’s a Public school.. Everyone has to give up something for something else. If we accommodated every single Holiday/Event anything we would attend school three days out of the year.. Clubs are Student run and as you realize most student run clubs work around the e-boards schedule. For your professor? Well that is unfair he couldn’t reschedule but one quiz will not fail you. Make sure you do all the appropriate work you will miss and are ahead of yourself. Take responsibility for yourself. You have to work around the Schools Schedule who is trying to work around 8,000 students schedule. As stated. Dont sweat the small stuff. You missed a day of class and a few meetings. All can easily be made up.

  3. In response to the highly intelligent retorts of Don and Mike:
    o·pin·ion [ ə pínnyən ]
    1. personal view: the view somebody takes about an issue, especially when it is based solely on personal judgment
    2. estimation: a view regarding the worth of somebody or something

    Do you see under Shanna’s name, beneath where it says her position as Staff Writer, where it says opinion@oswegonian.com? That means this is an OPINION piece. She can say whatever the hell she wants, it’s her opinion. You have a different opinion. She is definitely not saying the world is against her, she is intelligently illustrating how it (lack of second day off to observe the holiday) is inconvenient and unfair to Jewish students who travel to be home for the holidays. Rosh Hashanah is one of the most important Jewish holidays. What, were you guys together? “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” she isn’t! She wrote an article to educate people who wouldn’t have otherwise had a clue there even WAS a second day of the holiday, such as myself. She shouldn’t HAVE to worry about already being behind in a class in the second week because she is religious!
    Oh, and by the way Mike, can I get your source on the 3 days of class, a year? I had no idea there were so many holidays…

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