Just Passed Over
Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
Should UB have given students the days before/during Easter and Passover off?
I’m Jewish and I’m pissed.
The fact that classes are not canceled on April 6 is maddening to me. In case you don’t know, that weekend is home to two major holidays: Passover and Easter.
The first night of Passover (and Good Friday) is April 6, and Easter is April 8. For the first time in a while, Easter and Passover fall on the same weekend and class isn’t canceled.
In order to spend the holiday with my family, I have to miss five classes. As an honors student, this freaks me out. I will be behind and at a small disadvantage just because I want to be with my family for religious reasons.
Passover is one of the major Jewish holidays and involves a seder, the order of service observed at home on the first night or first two nights of Passover, and other traditions including searching for the Afikoman (a piece of matza that is hidden by an adult and then searched for and eaten by the kids), eating matza and singing certain prayers and songs in celebration of the Jews being freed from slavery in Egypt.
It’s my favorite holiday with my family. For as long as I can remember I have been at the celebration and haven’t had to worry about schoolwork because I always had the day off.
The same goes for those celebrating Easter. Even though I don’t celebrate the holiday, I feel the pain of those students who won’t be able to go home and search for eggs hidden in the backyard or receive baskets of Cadbury Eggs, Robin’s Eggs, small toys, and jellybeans.
Both holidays falling on the same weekend is a rare occasion, considering it is traditional for Easter to fall on the first Sunday after the Spring equinox and for Passover to be based on the Jewish calendar, a lunar calendar that has twelve 28-day months with the holiday always occurs from the month Nisan 15-21, according to chosenpeople.com.
Considering that 76.4 percent of the U.S. is Christian and could celebrate Easter, and 1.4 percent of the U.S. is Jewish, according to religioustolerance.org and could celebrate Passover, I think we should have had the day off from class.
“I'm upset that we don’t get off because I'm used to being able to spend the week and enjoy the holiday with my family and this year that really isn't an option,” said Rachel Rabinowitz, a freshman undecided major.
Besides spending the day with family, those who celebrate Passover can choose to keep Kosher for the holiday. This means that they will not eat anything leavened for the week. This diet is hard to maintain to begin with and even harder when you’re away at school with temptations everywhere you look.
“A big reason why I think we should get off is because for people like me who try and keep the holiday there aren’t many options of things to eat,” Rabinowitz said. “Although the Chabad house will have dinners it’s not the same as when we can be home to fully enjoy and embrace the holiday.”
Other SUNY schools have this holiday weekend off, including Binghamton, Stony Brook, and Purchase (their spring break), Oswego and New Paltz (just Good Friday), and Cortland (no exams or quizzes can be given).
Even though Passover doesn’t begin until next Friday night, getting the day off from class would have been generous for making travel plans to reunite with family and for those who go to church.