Federation stays abreast of school calendars, activity in the community
Having spent last Tuesday evening at the Seminole County School Board meeting, I read with interest your article “Seminole County School Board Drops Yom Kipper as a Nonattendance Day.” The school board heard from two members of the Jewish community that evening. I spoke, as chairperson of the Jewish Community Relations Council, representing the Jewish Federation. I was followed by Rabbi Rick Sherwin of Congregation Beth Am. There were no other speakers that evening. The board thanked both of us and continued on with business.
There are several small but significant religious groups in Seminole County, none of whom have nonattendance days for their religious holidays. In keeping with the separation of Church and State, the JCRC is focused on sensitivity for students who take days off for religious observance. Rabbi Rick reiterated this, and added the plea for sensitivity and respect for diversity. This includes accepting excused absences, not scheduling testing on holidays and time to make up assignments. Additionally, I encouraged the School Board to be mindful when scheduling open houses, parent meetings, or other school wide programs. Each year the JCRC sends out a 6-year calendar of Jewish holidays to the superintendent of schools for each county in our area, as well as copies to all school principals as well. This calendar includes all major holidays and their evening start dates, as well as several minor holidays, and is accompanied by a letter from Rabbi David Kay (member of the JCRC) about the observance of holidays and the need for sensitivity and respect, and explanations about each holiday. In fact, having received these calendars for many years, the superintendent of Seminole County schools knew to reach out to us prior to the school board meeting.
The Jewish Federation, through the work of the JCRC, is active in all areas of the community, helping to forge strong relationships between the Jewish Community and the Greater Orlando Community. Contacting us with your concerns allows the Jewish Community to provide a unified voice when providing information to the general community.