Virginia Beach and Norfolk Public Schools will begin classes for the 2021–2022 school year on Thursday, September 9, 2021. This change will ease the transition back to school for Jewish families, eliminating the conflict between the first day of school and Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year. Classes were originally set to start on Rosh Hashanah, one of the most religiously and culturally significant observances of the Jewish year, as the holiday falls this year on the day after Labor Day.
Both school districts voted at their board meetings to create a calendar that would best meet the needs of students, families, staff, administration, and the community. Prior to the vote in Virginia Beach, the Superintendent of Virginia Beach City Public Schools convened meetings of community and school system stakeholders and faith leaders, including local rabbis. In addition, the school board offered the public an opportunity to comment to the community.
The Jewish Community Relations Council of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater shares a calendar of Jewish holidays for the upcoming five years with local school districts, private schools, civic organizations, and more, as a resource for planning. In addition, the Anti-Defamation League offers guidance for students and teachers who seek accommodations for religious observance. The calendar, along with information from the ADL, can be found at JewishVA.org/JCRC.
Contact Rabbi Batya Glazer, director, Jewish Community Relations Council, at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or for additional resources.
– Rabbi Batya Glazer