web analytics
May 28, 2015 / 10 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Holiday Bus Service For Yeshivas: Why The Uproar?

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.

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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

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.

Current Top Story
Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner.
One of Indicted FIFA Officials Blamed ‘Zionism’ for 2011 Bribe Charge
Latest Indepth Stories
SADNA

{Guest columnist Sarah Manning) Jenny and Sima Solomon are joining with women from all over Israel to swim across the Kinneret to raise funds for Sadnat-Shiluv, a unique program of empowerment for young adults with special needs. Hundreds of religious women are expected to gather on the Kinneret shore for the annual Swim4Sadna women-only sponsored-swim […]

Robert Wistrich (z"l)

Prof. Wistrich, was THE foremost historian of anti-Semitism; committed spokesman & advocate of Jewry

J-Street

Jewish Voices for Peace’s 2015 Haggadah is a blatant anti-Israel screed crying, “L’chayim to BDS!”

Rabbi Lichtenstein (z"l).

On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor

After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel on peace process

Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria

Netanyahu so disdains Shaked’s appointment he completely ignored her after the swearing-in ceremony

Ronen Shamir’s just the latest tenured Leftist convicted of sexual misconduct with his own student

NY Times precious front page ink is only reserved for portrayals of Israel as the aggressor.

Although I loved law school, I doubted myself: Who would come to me, a chassidish woman lawyer?

American Jews who go gaga for Obama are first and foremost “Liberals of the Mosaic Persuasion”

“Illinois is the first state to take concrete, legally binding action against the BDS campaign”

Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo

Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims

The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR

Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.

More Articles from Editorial Board

“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”

Beyond the particulars of this tragic death, however, we should all be concerned about the possibility that a criminal prosecution in a major American city is being driven by fear of mobs in the street.

The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.

A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.

More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.

For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.

He went on to say that the United States would defend Israel if it were “attacked by any state.”

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: