The map above shows where schools close for Jewish Holidays. Reddit user jonross14 explains more about how he created the map:
My wife and I created this map. A colored county means that at least one school countywide closes for Jewish Holidays, not necessarily all schools in the county. We also designated a county if they only closed for one Jewish holiday, for example Yom Kippur but not Rosh Hashanah, or if a district consistently gives a PD (teachers-only) day on a Jewish holiday. TL;DR if any district in a county closes school to students for any Jewish holiday they are included in this map. Enjoy!
If, like me, you’re not familiar with the major Jewish holidays they are:
- Rosh Hashanah – The Jewish New Year
- Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement
- Sukkot – Remembers the wandering in the dessert; also a harvest festival
- Shemini Atzeret & Simchat Torah – A follow-up to Sukkot
- Chanukkah – Remembers the rededication of the Temple after it was defiled by the Greeks
- Tu B’Shevat – The “new year” for calculating the age of trees
- Purim – Remembers the defeat of a plot to exterminate the Jews
- Pesach (Passover) – Remembers the Exodus from Egypt
- Shavu’ot – Remembers the giving of the Torah; also a harvest festival
- Tisha B’Av – Remembers major communal tragedies
I haven’t included dates for any of them because they are based on the Jewish Calendar, which doesn’t perfectly match the Gregorian calendar most the world now uses. Also Jewish holidays begin the evening before the actual holiday day. To better understand this read A Gentile’s Guide to the Jewish Holidays.
Depending on your definition, the United States either has the largest or second largest Jewish population in the world, with between 4.2 million to 9.0 million Jews; Israel has 6.1 million. Yet, while Israel is 75% Jewish, the United States is only 1.8% – 3.3% Jewish.
New York City is the largest Jewish city in the United States (and second largest in the world after Tel Aviv) with between 1.8 million to 2 million Jews, which makes it around 9.3% Jewish.
There are only three incorporated areas of the United States which have majority Jewish populations: Kiryas Joel, New York (total population: 21,894; 99% Jewish), Beachwood, Ohio (total population: 11,953; 89.5% Jewish) and Lakewood Township, New Jersey (total population: 92,843; 59% Jewish).
No US county has a majority Jewish population, with Rockland County, New York having the largest concentration at 31.4% of the 311,687 people identifying as Jewish.
If you’d like to learn more please read:
- Hanukkah in America: A History
- Celebrate: A Book of Jewish Holidays
- A History of the Jews
- American Jewish History: A Primary Source Reader
- Lincoln and the Jews: A History
Did you school celebrate Jewish holidays? Let us know below:
my old high school’s the one in LA county
william deane says
Maybe there is no school for the month of September in Israel. Maybe some private kindergartens but public schools here in New York do not close for the month of September for the fewer than 10 percent of Jewish pupil population. It’s understood, Jewish students may take off for the high holiday and there has been
a controversy that New York city schools close on that SINGLE high holiday,…the big argument being: “Why should the whole system shut down for 90 per cent of those
non Jewish students when even not one day is excused for children of protestant, catholic, Indian, Hindu, Buddhist. You can certainly see an inoperable school system if they did honor all the other religions with school shutdowns on their respective religious holidays. Yes, I know, Jewish schools close on many religious holidays, but this is not for Jewish children attending public schools. Bill
And Good Friday? Is there school in your area on that Christian holiday? Winter break is also centered on Christmas, rather than Diwali, Hanukkah and other religions.
william deane says
Nine per cent of the public school population in new york city is of the Jewish religion.
That does not mean public schools are closed on the high holiday, though it is understood many Jewish children will be absent from their public school classes on the
high holidays. The Bd. of Ed. keeps the schools open, showing no favoritism to any particular religion. Too many different religious holidays from too many religions to honor each and every holy day.
Webb School of Knoxville is closed on you kippur.
Where did you get your info for your map??
Lauren Lyon says
Could you please share the raw data used for this map?
The isn’t many religious children attending the department of education schools Those that celebrate all of these Jewish policies go the orthodox Jewish school The schools shouldn’t close on many holidays These children need to learn not be off for other cultures day,s that they celebrate
IS THERE SCHOOL THE DAY OF PESACH
To a great extent, this reflects teachers rather than students. Judaism, or at least Orthodox Judaism, is probably the only religion where attending school (or teaching) would be *forbidden* on their holidays, hence the special status here. (Also, schools of course have off for Christmas and Easter is always on Sunday.) If teachers can’t come in, you might as well shut.
Juju Freeman says
Hello and thank you for this. You need to add one city to your map. Minneapolis Public Schools are closed today for Yom Kippur. Students will also be off October 19-21, with two of those days dedicated to the Education Minnesota conference that educators attend every year, aka MEA break. If you’d like to start planning, Meet Minneapolis has a list of fun things to do during the MEA break.
This is excellent Information for Planning a Disney Holiday. Every few years when Passover is LATE APRIL and Easter has already long passed almost ALL School Districts have Completed their Spring Break!