The editorial "A Calendar for All," which raises some interesting points about the problem of having to either miss class or miss travelling home on time for Thanksgiving dinner, but also seems to take a bizarre anti-semitic swipe simultaneously.
You write, "it seems noble to accommodate as many religious holidays as possible," yet decries conveniencing "a minority," in this case, Jewish students celebrating their three holiest days of the Jewish year.
The editorial fails to recognize also that Jewish students who have to travel home on those holidays have to make the "missed class" choice as well. Due to the lunar calendar being used, sometimes these three holy days fall on weekends, thus inconveniencing no one. The truly Orthodox take off even more time for other holy dates, not accommodated anywhere but by Jewish institutions. In the real world, like my office, any Jewish holidays I want to take off come from a meagre vacation allotment, while the company is officially closed on Good Friday, despite a Catholic minority in my office.
Nor does the editorial go on to ask for Eid, a major muslim holiday, to be recognized by the University, or any Hindu holiday, etc. But major Christian holidays are covered by weeks off around Christmas and Easter (which some years also covers Passover).
Wanting travel times accounted for in the University schedule is worth considering, but this is one of the things that often indicate you need to make a mature choice and maybe suffer a little bit. But please, stop blaming the Jews and citing how we're a minority and accuse us of somehow getting "special rights." In an area with any significant minority, accommodations are actually practicalities.
--Seth BookeyHofstra University, '85Former Managing Editor and Senior Copy Editor of The Chronicle, (1983-85)212.274.7185 (work)212.650.9081 (home)