web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Holiday Bus Service For Yeshivas: Why The Uproar?

Share Button

There was a disturbing lack of balance in the reporting on the recent controversy concerning bus drivers being asked to work on Thanksgiving to transport Lakewood yeshiva students scheduled to attend school that day. For obvious reasons, anything that highlights differences between Jewish and non-Jewish observances needs to be handled with great sensitivity. Thankfully, the issue has been resolved. But the media’s singular focus – devoid of context – on the purported plight of drivers being forced to work on their holiday was unfortunate and merits scrutiny.

The Associated Press headlined a story “Bus Drivers Asked to Transport Jewish Students on Thanksgiving,” and began the report with:

 

Thanksgiving might be just another day on the road for school bus drivers in one New Jersey town.

Lakewood is asking drivers to work in order to transport 18,000 Orthodox Jewish students to and from their private schools in the township.

 

On its website, WCBS (Channel 2) headlined the story “N.J. School Bus Drivers Balk At Having To Work On Thanksgiving” and led with the following:

 

Forced to work on Thanksgiving? A school bus fight in New Jersey is pitting drivers against parents.

CBS 2’s Derrick Dennis talked with some drivers who said they would rather give up their jobs than their holiday.

School bus drivers in Lakewood, finishing their rounds, say “no thanks” to some holiday humbug which involves working on Thanksgiving.

“Who’s gonna work on Thanksgiving? I’m not,” bus driver Bill Fitzgerald said.

 

These themes were typical. One would think there was something downright un-American going on. What did not come through were some very significant parts to the story. In the school district at issue there are some 25,000 students – 18,0000 of whom attend private Orthodox schools that were scheduled to hold classes on Thanksgiving. So these students were not exceptions to the rule, they were the rule.

In addition, under New Jersey law private-school students in the state are entitled to free transportation to and from their educational facilities “when the non-profit nonpublic school is in session.” In order to accomplish this, the school district contracts with private bus companies specifically to transport the nonpublic school students.

So despite intimations to the contrary, what was involved in the controversy was not some mindless, parochial nastiness but at worst a request that people meet their contractual obligations – which were clearly understood to include service on legal holidays.

But there is a broader dimension to our concern. Why was it that the Lakewood story became a big deal when the media have virtually ignored a more significant one relating to major retailers requiring their employees to work on Thanksgiving? Sears and Walmart stores will be open for business on Thanksgiving this year. And with the expectation that the number of Black Friday shoppers will increase from 212 million last year to 225 million this year, retailers are trying to outdo each other in opening earlier and earlier Friday morning. Indeed, Toys “R” Us is opening at 10 o’clock Thursday night and Target will open at midnight.

Because of our special practices, Jews will always be vulnerable to charges that we are different and therefore subversive. The fact that some streams in the Orthodox community choose not to partake in the outer trappings of Thanksgiving has no bearing on the gratitude they feel to this country and what it means for Jews. They are loyal Americans and certainly appreciate the key role America continues to play in their survival. That element was noticeably missing from the coverage of the Lakewood school bus controversy.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

One Response to “Holiday Bus Service For Yeshivas: Why The Uproar?”

  1. jrrenzo says:

    Why doesn’t the Jewish community celebrate Thanksgiving? It isn’t a religious holiday, it’s an American holiday. This is a Holiday for everyone in the USA, aren’t Jews Americans?

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden
Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden
Latest Indepth Stories
matza

If itis a mitzva to eat matza all Pesach, then why is there no berakha attached to it?

Masked Palestinian Authority Arabs hurl blocks at Israel Police during and after "worship" at Temple Mount mosque. (archive photo)

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

More Articles from Editorial Board

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

To be sure, American policy had long opposed the growth of Israeli settlements, but at the same time U.S. policymakers acknowledged that in any negotiated agreement there would be land swaps between Israel and the Palestinians to accommodate the large numbers of Israelis living in the settlements.

The issue of affordable infertility treatment has long been one of particular importance to the Orthodox Jewish community and we support the leadership of New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who again successfully championed this significant cause.

So it always struck us as hypocritical that Israel was expected to release cold-blooded killers almost as a matter of habit while the U.S. balked at letting Pollard go.

The Department of Justice acknowledges that individuals can claim an exemption if they can demonstrate an adverse impact on their religious beliefs.

In the larger sense, Mrs. Lubling came to epitomize an Orthodox community dedicated to taking care of its own.

There may not have been much else President Obama could have realistically done, but the headline writers at the Times obviously felt the need to massage a front-page story that took a less than giddy approach to Mr. Obama’s policymaking; how else to explain the story’s headline – “As Sanctions Start, Russia Feels a Sting”?

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/holiday-bus-service-for-yeshivas-why-the-uproar/2011/11/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: