Community upset Cinnaminson board drops Jewish holidays from school calendar

CINNAMINSON, N.J. (WPVI) -- Jewish families in one New Jersey community are upset that their religious holidays are no longer on the school calendar.

"The High Holidays are generally regarded as the holiest days on the Jewish calendar," Rabbi Boaz Marmon of Temple Sinai in Cinnaminson told Action News Tuesday.

Rabbi Marmon and some others of the Jewish community are upset by the local school board's decision to drop both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur from the upcoming school calendar, meaning classes will be held on those days.

For decades, they've been district holidays.

"I disagree with this decision. I think that it's very important that the children and the teachers be given the opportunity to be able to take these days off and not have to choose between going to synagogue or going to school," parent Melissa Schreir said.

The school superintendent Salvatore Illuzzi says of 2,500 students in the district less than 40 are Jewish along with about 15 staff members.

"15 to 20 years ago we had a significant number, but now that number has dwindled and the numbers certainly did not warrant keeping the Jewish holidays in," Illuzzi said.
"It doesn't matter how many, it just matters that you respect the students you have in your school. Respect the teachers that you have in your school. And to just sort of rip that away without notification, it's upsetting," parent Tami Bobrin said.

The decision was actually made by the school board back in December, but few people knew about it.

Rabbi Marmon says if the school board was thinking about making a change and let them be involved, then the Jewish community might have had some input on the decision.

"Without people feeling that they've been railroaded or run over or around," Marmon said.

Teachers will now be expected to take a personal day to observe the Jewish holidays.

School officials say students will not be penalized in anyway if they take those days off.

The school board meets again August 30.

Critics plan to be there and ask members to reconsider the decision to drop the Jewish holidays. null
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.