First Day of School Confusion

Friday, Jul 16, 2010 11:00am  |  COMMENTS (9)

2030_02_1---Yellow-School-Bus_web.jpgA concerned Bloomfield reader sent us an email about Bloomfield having their first day of school on the September 9, the first day of Rosh Hashanah:

A small group of upset parents are working their way through the standard channels – superindendint, principal, etc.- but it would be helpful for you to publicize this issue. As noted in your April piece, none of the neighboring towns are starting school on the second day of Rosh Hashana; it is an outrage that Bloomfield is starting on the first day.

Barista Kids checked the district’s website calendar and found that the first day of school is listed as September 8. The confusion is due to some of the school websites listing the 9th and some listing the 8th as the first day. So which day do Bloomfield kids start?
A call to the Superintendent’s office cleared it up. The official first day of school in Bloomfield is Wednesday, September 8–the day before Rosh Hashanah. However, while it may make Jewish families happier not having the first day on the high holiday, the district will not close for Rosh Hashanah.
Said one Bloomfield parent, “Rosh Hashanah starts at sundown on the 8th, so while I can send her to school on the 8th, it is unfortunate that she may miss at least one, if not two, days of school because of the holiday and Bloomfield’s school calendar.”
It’s not the first time Baristaville schools have dealt with upset parents about the 2010-2011 school calendar. Montclair originally had September 10 as the first day of school, which upset Jewish families. The district decided to revise the calendar to have the first day start after the holiday. Kids in Montclair will now start on September 13, the latest in Baristaville.
How are other Baristaville schools handling the start date and the Jewish holiday?
Here are the calendar details:

Bloomfield – September 8 (Schools open for Rosh Hashanah)
Glen Ridge – September 7 (schools closed 9/9 for Rosh Hashanah.)
Maplewood and South Orange – September 7 for grades K-7/9 / September 8 for grades 8/10-12 (schools closed 9/9 and 9/10 for Rosh Hashanah)
Millburn – September 7 (schools closed 9/9 and 9/10 for Rosh Hashanah.)
Montclair – September 13
Verona – September 7 (schools closed 9/9 for Rosh Hashanah.)
West Orange – September 7 (schools closed 9/9 and 9/10 for Rosh Hashanah.)


  1. POSTED BY Tim Lynch  |  July 16, 2010 @ 5:08 pm

    MKA is starting on 9/8, then off for 9/9, then back on 9/10.

  2. POSTED BY Jepstein  |  July 16, 2010 @ 7:21 pm

    My feeling is that Jewish public school parents should not be overly upset about school being open on RH in a district with very, very few Jewish families. It’s just a reality of that district… I grew up in a district in Illinois with almost no other Jewish children besides my family, and my parents just took us out for what we needed to attend. We were none the worse for it…
    You can always take your child out of school for the holidays you observe, and if having time off for holidays is extremely important, there are Jewish day schools which are much more accomodating to an observant lifestyle.
    Reality is, we are a very small minority in this country, even if we are well-represented in NYC-area. America is not centered around accomodating Jewish observances in the public square, as it is primarily a Christian country.
    Just food for thought — in Israel, people work on Sundays, and Christmas and Easter are normal workdays that only a small minority celebrate.

  3. POSTED BY Sandy  |  July 16, 2010 @ 10:28 pm

    I respectfully do not agree with Jepstein.
    If the great majority of public schools within
    Essex County can (and are) closing or not beginning
    classes until after the Holy Day. then so can Bloomfield. It has nothing to do with the percent (or number) of Jewish students enrolled. It does have to do with RESPECT. As a Jewish person, I respect Easter, Christmas, All Saint’s Day and any
    other Christian Holy Days. It is just the right way
    to conduct ourselves. Having grown up in South Orange/Maplewood, those towns are alot different from Bloomfield!!! One of the Synagogues has a small bus, seats 16. On Christmas eve, the members
    of that Synagogue used their bus, to pick up the elderly, and those with no way to go to Church and drove them AND picked them up after Midnight Mass and delivered then to their door.
    That is the difference. It’s called harmony and caring. It’s the part of Bloomfield that’s bankrupt.

  4. POSTED BY BloomingMom  |  July 17, 2010 @ 9:42 am

    Sandy – you clearly do not know much about Bloomfield. It is a lovely town. Many people are only familiar with its darker side, but my neighborhood is very family-centric. The issue of closing or postponing school ABSOLUTELY does have to do with the number of students who would be out for religious observances. If one wants to send their child to public school AND have them off for religious holy days, then one should be sure to live in a town that accommodates those interests.
    Where I grew up, everyone was Christian and everyone hunted – this meant there were no days off for the Jewish holy days, but we did get off for the first day of buck and the first day of doe (hunting season). Around here, you’d never see children let out for hunting days because very few people are avid hunters. If there are not enough Jewish families in Bloomfield school district to warrant interruption of the school calendar, then they should not do so. Any Jewish children or any young deer hunters will just have to take off school on those days.
    In the end, it does not harm any student to miss a day in the first week of classes anyway. We all know that very little work is done in that first week and I’m sure any teachers missing a significant number of students will know well enough to adjust the curriculum.

  5. POSTED BY tudlow  |  July 17, 2010 @ 9:52 am

    Blooming, people look at me a little funny around here when I told them we got off for the first day of buck season. I always used that day to go to the mall since I don’t hunt and don’t come from a hunting family although we did get some nice venison steaks from friends. (A little too gamey for my taste buds but my uncle made some decent chili.)
    Jepstein, you sound like a very reasonable person.

  6. POSTED BY walleroo  |  July 17, 2010 @ 1:28 pm

    By your reasoning, Sandy, we should also keep schools closed on Fridays, the Muslim sabbath. Muslims deserve respect, too, no? There must be a few of them in the district.

  7. POSTED BY Sandy  |  July 17, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

    It is not MY reasoning! It is the reasoning of 11 School districts, within Essex County, and Springfield in Union county.
    Who are “open” on the Holy Day? I found out.
    Newark, East Orange, Irvington, Orange and
    It’s fine with me if Bloomfield remains open, but
    they are in the minority of school districts, in
    our county, with that ruling. So, don’t tell me that I am wrong, tell the other school districts
    that they are wrong. 11 -VS- 5

  8. POSTED BY walleroo  |  July 17, 2010 @ 8:33 pm

    With all due respect, Sandy, you’re full of baloney. Here’s what you said:
    “It has nothing to do with the percent (or number) of Jewish students enrolled. It does have to do with RESPECT… It is just the right way to conduct ourselves.”
    If it shows disrespect to Jews to stay open during Jewish holy days, regardless of the number of Jewish kids in the schools, then it also shows disrespect to Muslims to stay open during Muslim holy days, regardless of the number of Muslim kids in the schools.

  9. POSTED BY Sandy  |  July 17, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

    It was you that introduced Muslims into this. Not I. I was (am) staying ON the TOPIC, as introduced in the original posting, herein, up top.
    I am simply saying that 11 Districts are closing that day. 5 are staying open, as per the listing.
    I voiced my opinion that I agreed that Blmfd. should also be closed on the 9th.
    11 Districts seemingly agree with me. 5 side with you.
    PERIOD !! Done. Finished. That’s it. Period.
    Good night.

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