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Columbus vs Yom Kippur

Original post made by HypocrisyHater on Oct 9, 2006

It is strange how the Palo Alto School District does not recognize Columbus Day, which is a holiday observed by government offices across America including Palo Alto's own. It is stranger that year after year Yom Kippur is observed with a district-wide holiday, without calling it as such but just "Local Holiday." By design, the day after Yom Kippur is also another day off district-wide, calling it a "Staff Development Day."

Comments (31)

Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Oct 9, 2006 at 9:46 pm

Strange? Hardly. Columbus Day is sort of a vestigial holiday. Served its purpose at one time, hardly resonates now, and easy to give up considering that so few people care.

I don't know the exact percentage of Jewish students and teachers in PAUSD, but I guess the idea is to take a local holiday since so many people are going to be absent anyway, and more people are better served by that decisions than by honoring Columbus. Heck - people barely acknowledge veterans on Veterans' Day and Memorial Day, hardly talk about MLK, Lincoln or Washington... Columbus is waaaay down on that list.


Posted by HypocrisyHater, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 9, 2006 at 11:07 pm

The school district should not be sneaky about the holiday. If it feels obligated to shut down operation to allow observance of Yom Kippur, then make it official. I'd be curious to know what other school districts around the country give two days off for Yom Kippur and call them "Local Holiday" and "Staff Development Day."

Also, the excuse that "so many people will be absent anyway" doesn't hold water. Wall Street doesn't shut down even though the same excuse can be used.


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Oct 9, 2006 at 11:51 pm

I'm not sure I follow your point when it comes to staff development days. They really are staff development days. They're not just called that. The staff members really do staff development. Those days have to be placed somewhere in the school. Are you suggesting that the district is trying to give Jewish people some extra benefit?

If you want to make a comparison, how about comparing school policies to other school policies. Here's a thought - why do schools observe Christmas? Why do they always put spring break next to Easter? I'm not suggesting we change that, but think about the reasons for it.

You can't really compare Wall Street to schools. Gimme a break - totally, totally different types of institutions in every way. But can I ask you a question? Why did you pick an institution so symbolic of money in a discussion relating to Jews?


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Oct 9, 2006 at 11:56 pm

***same post as above with minor corrections***

I'm not sure I follow your point when it comes to staff development days. They really are staff development days. They're not just called that. The staff members really do staff development. Those days have to be placed somewhere in the school calendar. Are you suggesting that the district is trying to give Jewish people some extra benefit?

If you want to make a comparison, how about comparing school policies to other school policies. Here's a thought - why do schools observe Christmas? Why do they always put spring break next to Easter? I'm not suggesting we change that, but think about the reasons for it.

You can't really compare Wall Street to schools. (by the way, did you mean to say the New York Stock Exchange? Wall Street suggests the market and all the companies and banks involved rather than just the NYSE). Gimme a break - totally, totally different types of institutions in every way. But can I ask you a question? Why did you pick something so symbolic of money in a discussion relating to Jews?


Posted by another Paly parent, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 10, 2006 at 10:02 am

banks and the post office were shut for Columbus Day, so it's still being recognized.


Posted by Parent_for_Transparency, a resident of Gunn High School
on Oct 10, 2006 at 3:22 pm

PAUSD has a calendar committee which circles in "local holiday" for Yom Kippur every year. Because Yom Kippur stretches over two days, the district has to circle in 2 back-to-back "local holidays" quite often. This year, only 1 was needed since Yom Kippur started on Sunday. Curiously, a staff development day is always circled in for the day following the last of the Yom Kippur local holidays. I am curious whether this is based on official district policy or unwritten rule that the committee is required to follow. Some transparency would be nice.


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Oct 10, 2006 at 4:09 pm

another Paly parent wrote: "banks and the post office were shut for Columbus Day, so it's still being recognized." I never suggested otherwise. My point is, who really cares?

Parent_for_Transparency: Please get your facts straight - your descriptions above are not entirely accurate. Perhaps that's how the calendar looked in recent years, but not "always." And Yom Kippur is not two days long - it goes basically from sundown to sundown, and there would be no reason for a Jewish student/teacher to miss more than the one day in between those sunsets.

The proposed calendar for next year includes no "Local Holidays" that overalp with Jewish observances. The proposed calendar for the year after that includes one day, a Thursday, for Yom Kippur.


Posted by HypocrisyHater, a resident of Fairmeadow School
on Oct 10, 2006 at 6:47 pm

SkepticAl, you keep saying who cares about Columbus Day? Judging from the fact that it is an official holiday and that there are many parades across the country, I think many people do care. While on the one hand you dismiss Columbus Day as not worthy of any observance, on the other you are quick to come to the defense of PAUSD observing Yom Kippur. I am skeptical as to why you are not asking the same question "Who cares about Yom Kippur?" Surely you don't imply the majority of Palo Altans care about an ethnic holiday more than a national holiday.

I did some checking to verify your claim about next year's calendar. You are correct in that Yom Kippur in 2007 is not a holiday for PAUSD. There is precedence for this however in that when Yom Kippur is in September, PAUSD does not circle that day for holiday. For 2007, Yom Kippur is on Sept 22. For 2004, Yom Kippur was on Sept 25 and there was no holiday. There must be some rule somewhere that states a holiday can be awarded to Yom Kippur only if it falls in October. I support another parent's call for transparency in how PAUSD calendar is put together.

For 2008, Yom Kippur is on October 9, and the proposed calendar already has that day circled for holiday.

Year Yom Kippur Date PAUSD Holiday Staff Development Day
2008 10/09 10/09 ?
2007 9/22 No ?
2006 10/01 (Sunday) 10/02 10/03
2005 10/12 10/13, 10/14 10/17 (Monday)
2004 09/25 No 10/15
2003 10/06 10/06 10/07


Posted by Peter, a resident of Southgate
on Oct 10, 2006 at 8:52 pm


Parent¨_for_transparency, rather than complaining about it, why don't you just ask the school district why it doesn't give students a day off on Columbus Day.

Perhaps it's because it is not only a vestigial holiday (he didn't really discover America; businesses do not close; most parades are held on the weekend), and there are various cultural sensitivities revolving around the lack of joy in some quarters that the European invasion was beneficial to the local people.

For the general enlightenment, here's what some other neighboring school districts have done:

San Francisco observed the "Columbus/Indigenous People's Day/ El Dia de la Raza Holiday"
Oakland skipped Columbus but took the following Friday off as a staff development day
Menlo Park, Los Altos, Mt. View Los Altos HS district, San Mateo/Foster City, Fresno, San Diego, Claremont all skipped Columbus Day

Observances vary across the nation. Some schools use Columbus Day only to provide a day off in October.

As to Yom Kippur, those observances also vary. Many schools are taking a page from business and offering a couple of days a year of the student's choosing to serve as "floating" holidays, mainly to avoid having to deal with religious and cultural sensitivities and the difficulties of providing holidays for all the religions represented in the U.S. school systems.

Does this help?




Posted by Peter, a resident of Southgate
on Oct 10, 2006 at 8:54 pm

My apologies,I meant to address HypocrisyHater, not Parent_for_Transparency


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Oct 10, 2006 at 9:52 pm

thanks for the addl. info, Peter.

wow - too much time on our hands. Why so worried about this stuff? Are you looking for the Jewish conspiracy to [gasp!] influence the school calendar?! What exactly is the problem?

I'm not saying most Palo Altans care about Yom Kippur. I'm saying that there's some logic to providing a day off for an observance honored by a sizeable percentage of people in the community. I don't think there's a sizeable percentage of Palo Altans who want or need a day off to honor Columbus. If it turns out I'm wrong and there's a groundswell of hundreds of families who need a day off to honor Columbus, then let's do it. I just don't see that happening here. If it does, hurrah for Columbus! I have nothing against it, I was just saying it doesn't seem like many people are clamoring for the holiday.

I asked a bit earlier... why do we have Christmas off? Why is spring break always around Easter? It's pretty easy for some folks to sit back and impute the process when it serves a minority favorably when they happen to be among the majority of people who never have to worry about whether or not public functions facilitate the obervance of their religious holidays.


Posted by Carol, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 11, 2006 at 11:38 am

Christmas is a National Holiday and is treated the same as Thanksgiving. Easter on the other hand is not a National Holiday and since it moves around it is very difficult to see over the years if Spring Break has always included Easter. However if we talk about Good Friday and Passover which often, but not always co-incide, I think you will find that the school calendar more often favours Passover rather than Good Friday. I think that one of the proposed calendars for the next couple of years actually shows a Friday holiday in April not connected to Spring Break. If you want to ask PAUSD then they actually have an email address at calendar@pausd.org.


Posted by really?, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 13, 2006 at 12:04 am

True enough that Xmas is a national holiday, but it seems a bit disengenuous to ignore that it has become a national holiday only out of deference to those who observe it religiously.

Even so, one could ask why the district schedules its entire winter break around Xmas even when officially it's only 1 day off, potentially mid-week.


Posted by Carol, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 13, 2006 at 8:15 am

Taking away the fact that Christmas is a religious holiday, it still makes sense to have winter break at this time of year. Firstly, Christmas Day and New Year's Day are exactly one week apart and this means that 2 of the days during winter break are actually National Holidays which would have to be observed anyway. Secondly, many companies which employ the parents of our children observe the days in between these 2 days as compulsory annual leave, which means that the parents are off work anyway and this makes it a good time for family interaction. Thirdly, the fact that these days are globally observed to some extent means that for those who want to take off time from work it is a very practical and easy time to do so as deadlines, etc. seldom take place during this time with perhaps the notable exception of the end of the financial year or fourth quarter. Fourthly, it is a much better time for families to get together with other family members, whether statewide, nationwide or worldwide as these other family members are usually free at this time.

For these reasons, if we are going to have a two week break in winter this is an excellent time to do so. Now if we shorten the break to the days just inbetween the two holidays, we would still be in a position to honour the holidays without taking as many days off school. But why should we? A two week break is probably what most of us had as kids (I personally had 3 weeks off) and we probably have family traditions that we like to indulge in during this time. Even those who do not actually think of Christmas as a religious holiday still look on it as a cultural holiday and get into the spirit by giving/receiving gifts, family get togethers, decorating their homes, etc. etc.

Lastly, if we were to put winter break somewhere else and just give the two National Holidays, where would we put it? We would end up with longwinded discussion, floating weeks here and there which change every 2 years and take away an identity in our children's lives of something that they will cherish in their memories for the rest of their lives. I say, leave Christmas alone. Let everyone celebrate whatever holiday they chose, but respect those who want to call Christmas Christmas, or Hannukah Hannukah or even winter break winter break. But remember this is meant to be a time of peace, goodwill to all, and don't let it become another pc time when we have to be careful not to offend.


Posted by Boaz, a resident of Greater Miranda
on Oct 13, 2006 at 11:34 am

I think many people have a misconception about christmas and what it means. To sum it up--christmas means nothing to me. It is the celebration of a fairy tale character who has been used as the basis/excuse to oppress my people and others over the years.
Some people may find it surprising that there are many people, even in PA, who do not look at it as a cultural holiday and do not "get into the spirit".
Of course I can understand how christians can see the week or two of christmas as a time of peace and goodwill to all--then they can spend the other 50 weeks of the year being intolerant and hateful.
Christmas should not be a national holiday--it is offensive to me and others of differing religions.


Posted by Carol, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 13, 2006 at 3:37 pm

This is exactly what I did not want to happen. I did not mean to offend anyone and if I did, I apologise. I know that many do not celebrate Christmas and even find it offensive. I also know that the month of December celebrates many festivals for many religions. I think that there are many people who decorate their homes in other than the traditional Christmas fashion. I have seen blue Hannukah lights and white lights for Ramadan on my neighbours homes and they enjoy the time of celebration in their own cultural manner which is what I meant with the phrase "getting into the spirit". This should be a time of us all learning about the different festivals, what the different traditions mean and why those celebrating them want to celebrate. It should be a time for learning and enriching ourselves rather than being divisive and holding grudges. The fact that Christmas is a National Holiday is a different debate. Even if it wasn't a National Holiday, Christians and non-Christians alike would celebrate it, although those who choose not to could ignore it completely if that was what they wanted.

And for Boaz who feels that for 50 weeks of the year Christians are intolerant and hateful is a generalisation that I find hard to understand. I personally aim to never be intolerant or hateful and if I appear to be then I apologise. Best intentions are often misinterpreted and that is unfortunate. The Christian message is basically one of love and forgiveness and that in itself is often misunderstood. If anyone thinks otherwise, then they are showing that an understanding of all religions is something we should learn about. A good education should encompass all knowledge and not leave gaps which could lead to prejudices through supposition and lack of understanding.


Posted by Carol, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 13, 2006 at 3:40 pm

This is exactly what I did not want to happen. I did not mean to offend anyone and if I did, I apologise. I know that many do not celebrate Christmas and even find it offensive. I also know that the month of December celebrates many festivals for many religions. I think that there are many people who decorate their homes in other than the traditional Christmas fashion. I have seen blue Hannukah lights and white lights for Ramadan on my neighbours homes and they enjoy the time of celebration in their own cultural manner which is what I meant with the phrase "getting into the spirit". This should be a time of us all learning about the different festivals, what the different traditions mean and why those celebrating them want to celebrate. It should be a time for learning and enriching ourselves rather than being divisive and holding grudges. The fact that Christmas is a National Holiday is a different debate. Even if it wasn't a National Holiday, Christians and non-Christians alike would celebrate it, although those who choose not to could ignore it completely if that was what they wanted.

And for Boaz who feels that for 50 weeks of the year Christians are intolerant and hateful is a generalisation that I find hard to understand. I personally aim to never be intolerant or hateful and if I appear to be then I apologise. Best intentions are often misinterpreted and that is unfortunate. The Christian message is basically one of love and forgiveness and that in itself is often misunderstood. If anyone thinks otherwise, then they are showing that an understanding of all religions is something we should learn about. A good education should encompass all knowledge and not leave gaps which could lead to prejudices through supposition and lack of understanding.


Posted by Carol, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 13, 2006 at 3:42 pm

I also apologise for getting my thoughts posted twice, quite accidental as I was rereading the whole thread carefully.


Posted by HypocrisyHater, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 13, 2006 at 4:42 pm

No need to apologize, Carol, for you have said nothing offensive. The other camp is clearly employing the "best defense is offense" strategy.

Several observations:
1. In Palo Alto, there is a powerful force that is able to promote its agenda at will. The plurality behind this force is a sizable minority. They are both vocal and aggressive.

2. Questioning the wisdom of PAUSD circling Yom Kippur for school holiday as opposed to a totally non-religious Columbus Day, a national holiday no less, brings out a quick dismissal (who cares?) and a subsequent attack on cherished traditional holidays of Christmas and Easter. It matters not that many people of all ethnicities and faiths take advantage of those holidays with or without caring for their religious significance. The message is loud and clear, if you can have your religious holidays, why can't we? So, it's all about entitlement, is it? Then, perhaps PAUSD should start circling all sacred days of every major religion. How about Chinese New Year?

3. The call for tranparency in how PAUSD decides certain holidays is of course lost in all the inuendos and distractions. There is no question the tentacles of the powerful force are firmly extended over PAUSD's calendar committee. And there is no use waiting for PAUSD to turn transparent because it will not happen. Citizens of Palo Alto, remember the old adage: "if you can't fight them, join them"? Well, the certainty of a PAUSD holiday every time Yom Kippur falls in October should allow for some advance planning of a nice, long weekend. Enjoy while you can.


Posted by really?, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 13, 2006 at 5:38 pm

"It matters not that many people of all ethnicities and faiths take advantage of those holidays with or without caring for their religious significance."

What a crock. Of course they do, because those are the holidays that are foisted off on them, because a significant contingent of Christians have chosen those holidays. What are they supposed to do, sit and brood? You know, you could as easily enjoy the Yom Kippur in service day without caring about its religious significance.

Hey, I don't have any vested interest in Yom Kippur or whatever, but this underlying presumption that there is somehow a greater validity to Xmas vs Yom Kippur just strikes me as highly ethnocentric thinking.

If a not insignificant contigent can leverage a holiday off of one of the inservice days versus celebrating the life of the guy who committed atrocities and genocidale policies against the natives, then I'm all for it.


Posted by Carol, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 13, 2006 at 6:47 pm

I don't think anyone was presuming that Christmas has a greater validity than Yom Kippur. I was just replying to SkepticAl's two times asking about Christmas and once asking about Easter.

And in answer to HypocrisyHater's question about Chinese New Year, although it is not recognised as a day off school, I know in the lower grades it is certainly celebrated. My children have always come home with chinese artwork, coins, writing, etc. and also had field trips to chinese restaurants to celebrate the occasion. I think that they all know what year they were born in and the traits that makes them have. My monkey is very proud of the fact and my rooster thinks he needs to crow every new year. So in a sense they have learnt a lot from it. I don't think any of them have ever been told what Yom Kippur is about, or any other cultural celebration. They have been taught about Columbus, the pilgrims and indians (native americans) until they are bored by the repetition of the subject and the same with MLK in January. In fact there is an unofficial school calendar that means you can tell the month by the lessons learnt in the classroom. Fortunately, there is no school in July or else they would come home hating England which is something I would not feel too happy about.


Posted by Boaz, a resident of Greater Miranda
on Oct 13, 2006 at 8:13 pm

Before one lectures others on holidays and getting into the spirit of the holiday, perhaps that person should be aware of exactly when the holiday they are ta;ling about actually occurs.
Perhaps in December some people see houses with white lights on them--but they are not celebrating Ramadan in December.
As for the statement "The fact that Christmas is a National Holiday is a different debate. Even if it wasn't a National Holiday, Christians and non-Christians alike would celebrate it, although those who choose not to could ignore it completely if that was what they wanted."- well what can one say?". it definitely shows a complete lack of knowledge of other religions.
Perhaps Carol needs to realize that there are plenty of people that do not celebrate christmas, in fact maybe Carol is not aware that christianity is not the major religion in the world.
And one only needs to look at the statements of the religious right in america regarding gays, abortion, other religions, unwed mothers, unmarried people living toegther (and the list goes on and on) to see where I came up with the statement regarding the intolerance of christianity in america.


Posted by Carol, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 14, 2006 at 1:20 pm

I know my Muslim neighbours are celebrating Ramadan when they display their white lights at whatever time they display their lights. It is whenever Ramadan is which is usually November/December time and since they are Muslim and have parties at their home when lots of Muslims visit them and their home is decked out in white lights I am assuming rightly or wrongly that it is part of their tradition. They then keep their lights on through winter, way past New Year. I know I am assuming, but these are the facts that make me assume that their lights are part of their celebration. I cannot speak for all white lights in Palo Alto, but I do know these particular neighbours. Similarly, the blue lights I have seen also say Happy Hannukah and so likewise I am making a similar assumption.

I have Hindu friends who have invited my family to their Hindu festival party (Dahli something, I can't remember exactly but it comes up soon)and we have joined in their celebration. I have also been to their home in December and they have a Christmas tree in their living room with gifts underneath and they have actually asked us about some of the origins of the traditions.

I have jewish friends we exchange Christmas Cards/Hannukah Cards with and if it wasn't for these cards and letters, we would have lost touch with each other years ago. In this case neither families are offended by the other's greeting, just pleased to be kept in touch.

I feel that I do know something of the major religions of the world and know that Christianity is not the most widely observed. I wouldn't presume to call myself well educated in any of them, but I do try and keep my mind open and am willing to learn more when the opportunity arises. I don't close my mind to becoming better educated and hope that my children in their schools and with their friends learn from each other. This world needs to respect all nations and beliefs and understand each other without bigotry, negativity and closedmindness. Palo Alto is a wonderful place to learn from others of their traditions, not to hide behind labels and refuse to grow.

The politics of which Boaz speaks is a different subject and if he wants to start a thread on this subject that is his affair. This thread (I understood it to be anyway) is about religious holidays in our schools.

On that note, I would like to add that although the two days off school for my high schooler and middle schooler were a great time to catch up with some long term projects assigned to them plus some family time, my 3rd grader was very disrupted by it. He had in effect 2 weeks without homework, completely lost track of what days of the week it was which affected his out of school activities and this week he found long and didn't want to get back into the routine of homework. Thus for him, I much prefer a 2 week winter break which we can emotionally and phsychologically prepare for rather than disruptive short weeks every now and then which happen too often. This is nothing against Yom Kippur, I respect why we have the time off, I am just sharing my point of view.


Posted by Cynic, a resident of another community
on Oct 14, 2006 at 5:54 pm

HypocrisyHater is really a CommonSenseHater or, alternately, a ConspiracyLover. Boaz probably should be known in this context as a ReligionHater, as I suspect he has no less dislike for Jewish orthodoxy than he has shown for the Christian one. Both go overboard in this discussion, so Carol will fail in her attempts to apply a bit of common sense or find a middle ground.

The French revolution tried to abolish the old calendar, old holidays, old . It failed. People like their old ways, and there is nothing wrong with that. As to Yom Kippur, it is a bit different for the Jews from other "holidays", and since it is only a single day, it seems a reasonable and not too onerous for the community to accomodate the sizeable Jewish minority with one day a year. And if not, the sky will not fall.

But if one wants to find conspiracies... heck, no amount of arguments will convince him that there is none. The more persuasive the arguments are, the clearer it is to him that there must be a REALLY good conspiracy at work!


Posted by Boaz, a resident of Greater Miranda
on Oct 15, 2006 at 12:51 pm

Carol--you are right. The discussion on the poltics of religion does belong on a spearate thread.

Actually, Cynic, I use my real name--I do not hide behind labels. On FYI, I am an orthodox jew. I just find the forcing of stuff down my throat by the religious right as extremely distasteful. Again, this is probably suited better for a different thread, but the religious right reflect little of jesus' tre teachings (if one believe in him).


Posted by anon, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 15, 2006 at 3:52 pm

Well -why can't the district calendar be accurately labeled/explained?


Posted by 1/4 na, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 22, 2006 at 7:09 pm

"WHO" is skeptical Al? Millions of people respect Columbus Day to honor the man for who he was and for what he did. We sure wouldn't be the same today without his sea treks. I for one am very glad he had the gumption to make his trips and help create the world of the past 500 years and I'm not even Italian!


Posted by Ted, a resident of Ventura
on Oct 26, 2006 at 8:23 pm

>I know my Muslim neighbours are celebrating Ramadan when they
>display their white lights at whatever time they display their
>lights. It is whenever Ramadan is which is usually >November/December time and since they are Muslim and have parties
>at their home when lots of Muslims visit them and their home is
>decked out in white lights I am assuming rightly or wrongly that it
>is part of their tradition. They then keep their lights on through
>winter, way past New Year.

That's a very strange statement, since Ramadan occurs at different times each year -- it was in December some years ago, but drifts earlier about 11 or 12 days every year -- it occured in September/October this year and it will be earlier still next year.

Oh, and did you notice all the Sukkot lights up this year? For some of us, the "holiday season" just ended! I wish we could have had the winter vacation days this past month.


Posted by Carol, a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 27, 2006 at 9:52 am

Ted

This is just proving my point. I am ignorant as to exactly when Ramadan is because no one has explained or taught me. I am only using my memory and judgment when I say usually November/December. Since you say that it was recently in December then moves earlier each year, I am a few years out of date. However, my point stands that people will celebrate their own holiday whenever it falls. I was out walking over the weekend and some other neighbours were having a celebration of lights party outside their home. They cheerily wished me a festival greeting and I returned their best wishes. I took no offence, just felt happy to be included in their celebration in some small way. I would have loved to find out more, but it wasn't the right time or place.

This is why I think we should respect each others beliefs and the best way to do that is to learn about the major religions in the classroom. As a Christian I do like to celebrate Christmas Day on the day itself. If for some reason I moved to a country where it wasn't celebrated, or if winter break moved someother time on the calendar, I would still celebrate with my family, probably on the closest Sunday. For those who insist on celebrations on the given day, we should at least respect them enough by calling a spade a spade and call the day what it is.


Posted by SkepticAl, a resident of Ventura
on Nov 7, 2006 at 9:37 pm

I know this thread has been dormant a while - I just looked back, and apparently, yet another reader had trouble understanding me. I don't care if Columbus Day is celebrated or not. For this forum, I'm not praising or criticizing the man or the holiday. I was just saying that I don't see or hear much interest in the holiday in this community. If there's a groundswell of interest in celebrating it more, let's hear it....

{{{crickets chirp}}}

Okay. Now, regarding Yom Kippur, I'm just saying there's a lot of people who are going to miss that day if it's a regular day. I never got the day off when I was in school, and I survived just fine. But if the district wants to decide that it makes sense to close down when a lot of people will be out anyways, I see the sense in that. If Chinese New Year resulted in tons of absences I'd say the same thing. As for Christmas, I'm all in favor of taking the day off and even having it as a national holiday. There are obvious church/state issues there, but then again, if 80-90% of the country won't be showing up for work, what are you gonna do? And Easter... I'm pretty sure that spring break provides a week off either before or after Easter every year.


Posted by , a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 12, 2006 at 10:53 pm

SkepticAl, I would just like to say that 80-90% is way too high of a percentage of Christians. I've heard that as much as 30% of Palo Alto is Jewish. On Yom Kippur, Jewish people cannot eat or drink, and therefore kids and teens who are fasting would definitely have to miss school. That would make all of them fall behind in their work, and I honestly do not know why you are against having this day off in the first place.


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