ADL Deeply Troubled and Disappointed by Olivette City Council Action

St. Louis, MO, March 27, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed deep concern and disappointment regarding a decision by the Mayor and City Council of Olivette who, in the face of requests to shift the date of last night’s Council meeting decided instead to hold the meeting on the second night of Passover. Further, the Mayor and Council chose not to delay a contentious vote on an issue about which many Jewish residents of Olivette wished to be heard, residents who were observing this important Jewish holiday at the time of the meeting. 

The ADL and a number of Olivette residents had asked the City to accommodate constituents who were observing Passover on Tuesday evening this week to at least delay the actual vote on the issue until a time when all members of the community could reasonably participate in the process. “While we were sensitive to the need for the Council to vote on certain matters on the agenda that required action due to upcoming deadlines, we were disturbed that there was a meeting scheduled for the second day of Passover at all.” said Karen Aroesty, ADL regional director. “There is past precedent for cancelling and postponing Council meetings for other holidays. So many of the Council’s constituents, including one of its own members, were observing Passover. It would have been both appropriately sensitive and not a burden on Council business to reasonably accommodate their religious needs.”

According to the City Council’s website, “The Council has its Regular Meeting on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 7:00 p.m., unless that meeting falls on a holiday, in which case the meeting is not held.” “We must assume that the Council’s interpretation of the word ‘holiday’ is sadly limited, “ indicated Aroesty. “Olivette could have joined other communities in the region such as Clayton, University City, Creve Coeur and Town and Country in an approach to governing that recognized the diverse religious needs of its residents. Instead, they failed in their public service. We would call on the Mayor and City Council to consider the remaining calendar of meetings this year and in the future, schedule its business with an eye toward respect of and acceptance for the differing religious observances of all its constituents.”

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.