Legislators Call for Adjustment to 2023-2024 Academic Calendar to Respect Jewish Religious Observance

In Letter to Education Chancellor, Assemblywoman Rozic and Council Member Dinowitz Lead Call for Religious Accommodation of Passover and Shabbat

New York, NY – Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) and Council Member Eric Dinowitz) released a letter addressed to New York City Education Chancellor Banks urging the Department of Education to adjust the 2023-2024 academic calendar to accommodate Jewish observances. 

The proposed calendar removes the last two days of Passover as days off, and adds a Friday evening for parent teacher conferences, which is the Jewish Sabbath – changes that would prevent many Jewish students and faculty from attending school and conferences on those days.

“As the Jewish community is facing unprecedented anti-Semitism, at the very least, school should be a safe haven from discrimination,” said Assemblywoman Rozic. “I hope the DOE calendar’s conflicts with religious observances were an oversight that will be quickly remedied and rescheduled to make it clear that New York City, home of the largest Jewish population in the country, respects and accommodates our Jewish families.

“If the proposed school year calendar remains as is, Jewish students, families, and faculty will face significant challenges due to conflicts with religious observances, which essentially forces a choice between their faith and their education,” said Council Member Dinowitz. “We are calling on the DOE to recognize the Jewish community's needs and demonstrate its commitment to fostering an inclusive and welcoming educational environment. Our schools must serve as a model for inclusiveness and as a safe haven from discrimination, and a culturally competent school year calendar is the bare minimum step it can take to achieve this. I look forward to DOE resolving this quickly.”

The lawmakers also requested that faculty be given a reminder about their rights and responsibility regarding religious accommodations. The letter was signed by over two dozen of their Assembly and Council colleagues.

The full text of the letter can be found here.