web analytics
October 24, 2014 / 30 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Stony Brook And Religious Holidays

We share the dismay many have expressed over the recently announced decision by the State University of New York to abandon a longtime practice and no longer refrain from scheduling classes on major Christian and Jewish holidays. Nothing in the nature of new facts on the ground has been offered by the university to explain the controversial move, though concerns for Muslim sensitivities were apparently behind it.

And it is noteworthy that Stony Brook is the only one of the four major schools in the state university system that has withdrawn religious holidays from its academic calendar. The other three, Buffalo, Binghamton and Albany, continue the practice of not holding classes on Christian and Jewish holidays.

In explaining the change, Charles Robbins, vice provost for undergraduate education at the school, said:

As a secular university, as a state funded university, our priority must be to maximize instructional opportunities for our students. First and foremost, it’s important to note that while I respect everyone’s concerns, the reality is it’s a relatively small number of people who are upset.

Mr. Robbins went on to tell Fox News Radio that the university’s decision to no longer cancel classes on Christian and Jewish holidays offers “equal protection under the regulations to everybody and no one is getting ‘special treatment’…. Now all segments of our population will be equally recognized. It really is the American fair thing to do.”

Sorry, but abandoning existing accommodations for many because you are not prepared to accommodate all smacks of dubious public policy at best.

As Rabbi Joseph Topek at Stony Brook’s Interfaith Center noted, “Students are going to have to go begging to their professors, ‘I will not be able to come to class.’ ” New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who has long led efforts to protect religious rights in education and the workplace, weighed in with a letter to Stony Brook president Samuel Stanley.

In pertinent part, Speaker Silver said:

I am writing to express my deep concern and disappointment over the decision by Stony Brook University to create a new academic calendar that no longer accommodates students and faculty who observe religious holidays. It is universally recognized that, traditionally, time in the school calendar has been set aside for the observance of religious holidays so as not to waste public resources due to the large number of students and faculty who would be unable to attend because of religious and family obligations. It is unacceptable to schedule classes on the holiest day of the year, such as Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah and Passover for Jewish students and Good Friday and the rest of Holy Week for Christian students.

These days have long been granted the students at Stony Brook, other SUNY schools, CUNY schools, some public school districts in Long Island and Westchester and in New York City. At Stony Brook, an excellent educational institution of which our state can be proud, granting these holidays has worked in the past…. I worry that this new policy may discourage those observe religious holidays from attending or serving on the faculty….

We are a state that celebrates our religious and ethnic diversity. By taking away these holidays, Stony Brook has created an environment that can be seen as hostile to observant students of all faiths.

We would also note an inconvenient truth: the full week of Christmas is designated as a legal holiday when no classes are scheduled.

Stony Brook should reconsider the error of its ways.

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.

No Responses to “Stony Brook And Religious Holidays”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Do you know where your vegetables grow?
Not So Kosher Shemittah L’Mehadrin
Latest Indepth Stories
Eller-102414-Cart

I had to hire a babysitter so that I could go shopping or have someone come with me to push Caroline in her wheelchair.

Bills to restore the balance of power in Israel will be fought by the not-so-judicial left.

Widespread agreement in Israel opposing Palestinian diplomatic warfare, commonly called “lawfare.”

Chaye Zisel Braun

Arab terrorism against Jews and the State of Israel is not something we should be “calm” about.

Peace Now Chairman Yariv Oppenheimer

The Israeli left, led by tenured academics, endorses pretty much anything harmful to its own country

We were devastated: The exploitation of our father’s murder as a vehicle for political commentary.

Judea and Samaria (Yesha) have been governed by the IDF and not officially under Israeli sovereignty

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

n past decades, Oman has struck a diplomatic balance between Saudi Arabia, the West, and Iran.

The Torah scroll which my family donated will ride aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier

The Jewish Press endorses the reelection of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. His record as governor these past four years offers eloquent testimony to the experience and vision he has to lead the Empire State for the next four years.

I think Seth Lipsky is amazing, but it just drives home the point that newspapers have a lot of moving parts.

Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.

The question of anti-Semitism in Europe today is truly tied to the issue of immigration.

Polls indicate that the Palestinians are much more against a two state solution than the Israelis.

More Articles from Editorial Board

The Jewish Press endorses the reelection of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. His record as governor these past four years offers eloquent testimony to the experience and vision he has to lead the Empire State for the next four years.

That key is the disarming of Hamas and the demilitarization of Gaza – as the U.S., EU, and others agreed to in principle at the end of Operation Protective Edge.

We have no doubt there are those who deeply desire to present themselves as being of a gender that is not consistent with their anatomy, and we take no joy in the pain and embarrassment they suffer.

Given the vitality of Hamas, Israel can hardly rely on the commitments, even if sincere, of PA President Mahmoud Abbas for its security.

Is the president oblivious to polls saddling him with some of the lowest presidential popularity rankings in recent history?

The Jewish Press mourns the passing of Rose Lesser, a”h.

There is not even a hint of recognition that Hamas deliberately fires rockets at civilian targets in Israel while storing arms and rocket launchers among its own civilians in Gaza.

No one with any sanity would dream of rationalizing or justifying the depredations perpetrated on the Arab world by ISIS.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/stony-brook-and-religious-holidays/2012/03/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: