Anticipating Rise in Scheduling Conflicts from the Early High Holidays Season, ADL Offers New Resource on Religious Accommodation in Schools

New York, NY, July 25, 2013 … In anticipation of the early arrival of the Jewish High Holidays, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has published a new resource to help students, parents, and educators navigate their rights and obligations when taking time off from school for religious observance.

This year, the Jewish High Holiday season begins in early September. The two holiest days of the Jewish year, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, fall on Sept. 4-6 and Sept. 13-14, in some cases directly coinciding with the start of the academic year.

ADL’s guide to School and Workplace Accommodation for the Jewish High Holidays is available on the ADL website. It contains responses to frequently asked questions on religious accommodation in various settings, including public schools, universities, and workplaces.

Some of questions answered include:

  • Are public and private schools required to close on the High Holidays?
  • Are public schools required to accommodate student observance of the High Holidays?
  • Do students have accommodation rights at private schools and colleges?
  • What steps should be taken to help ensure that students receive accommodations?
  • What are employees’ religious accommodation rights and obligations?

"It is vital that parents and students starting a new school year inform their teachers and school administrators of scheduling conflicts well in advance to ensure receiving legally required excused absences for religious observance, or to avoid unnecessary grade penalties and other preventable consequences when religious accommodations are at a school’s discretion,” said Deborah Lauter, ADL Director of Civil Rights. “We want students to set off on the right foot, which is why we’ve provided this guide for families, as well as employees, expecting to take time off for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.”

Through its 30 regional offices, ADL has been reaching out to school districts across the country to notify them of the early arrival of this year’s High Holiday season. By using the guidelines provided by ADL, and working closely with educators and employers, observant individuals can ensure their civil rights are not violated and that their religious freedom is respected.

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.

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