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The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

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Jewish holidays off: a step towards inclusion

Park calendar changes to have Jewish holidays off
Gabriel Fink
JSU (Jewish Student Union)meeting the week after Yom-Kippur. After a brief discussion of the holiday, attention turns to Sukkot, the next celebration of the High Holy Days.

Starting this year, Park will have school off during Jewish holidays. In previous years, Jewish students have had to miss school to practice their religion during Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah, but it all changed this year.

Assistant Principal Alyssa Gardner explained how the school came to the decision. The school board determined that taking these days off would help these students practice their religion without having to worry about school.

“That was the school board’s decision as they were creating the calendar for this year,” Gardner said. “We felt like we wanted to support a large number of our students to be able to honor their own religious holidays without having a negative impact on their school.”

Sophomore Ryan Oleisky said how meaningful this holiday is to him. It connects him with his family and religion.

“This holiday is really important to me because I get to spend time with my family. I get to see people I haven’t seen in a long time,” Oleisky said. “You know, it’s a big holiday. It’s like Christmas.”

Sophomore Zach Stillman said that having the holiday off made it a lot easier as far as schoolwork. 

“The main thing that having school off allows us to do is not be behind in any classes because we were practicing religion,” Stillman said. “It makes being religious much easier and really helps us out as members of the Jewish community.”

Oleisky said it was easier having school off during this important holiday.

“Normally my family and I would go practice our religion in the synagogue and then we would miss school,” Oleisky said. “Now we don’t have to catch up on any work and we have a free day to just practice and focus on our religion.”

The change in the calendar was also a big step towards the inclusivity of religions. Science teacher Alex Polk expressed his pride in Park’s journey towards inclusivity overall. 

“I’m quite proud of our school, both for this and the calendar change for eid.” Polk said. “I think that it’s a really big step and I am hopeful for this move.”

Stillman said this move was very big for Park as far as inclusivity goes. He said that it recognizes the Jewish religion as a whole and gives equal chances to everyone, no matter the religion.

“It’s super important to me because I view it as, you know, accepting a religion,” Stillman said. “Changes like these make sure that each student has the best opportunities, no matter what religion they practice.”

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Ted McCarren, Echo Staffer
Hi, I’m Ted and I am a sophomore this year. I play football and baseball and I am excited about my first year in Echo. Outside of school, I like to hangout with my friends, play golf and fish in the summer, and snowboard during the winter.
Gabriel Fink, Echo Staffer
My name is Gabriel, I’m a junior in highschool, and this is my first year on Echo. When I’m not at school, you can find me out with my dad, surfing the internet, reading at home, laughing with my friends, or eating at one of my favorite restaurants. I like being outside, but I’m an indoorsy guy (which makes no sense, I know) and I love to go out and have a little adventure; Echo seems like the right combination of both!

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  • Z

    Zach StillmanOct 2, 2023 at 1:33 pm

    This is a great story, a big step towards inclusivity!