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Upcoming Jewish High Holy Days

September 16, 2020


Dear campus community:

Members of the Gallaudet University community who are Jewish will observe the most important and holy days of the Jewish calendar this month. This email message is being sent now to facilitate class and assignment planning during this time. This message will also touch on Shabbat/Shabbos.

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the holiest and most solemn day of the Jewish year. On Yom Kippur, many Jews fast from sundown to sundown.

Even Jews who are not very observant in their religious practices often observe these two holidays. Observance may include attending synagogue. Most Jews do not work, go to school, or attend meetings and events on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and all day on Yom Kippur. Observant Jews also may choose not to work, go to school, or attend meetings and events on the second day of Rosh Hashanah.

Out of respect for those observing the Jewish high holidays, please do not schedule tests, assignment due dates, meetings, or events on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This year, the dates include:

Rosh Hashanah

  • the evening of Friday, September 18
  • all day on Saturday, September 19
  • all day until sundown on Sunday, September 20

Yom Kippur

  • the evening of Sunday, September 27
  • all day, until at least sundown, on Monday, September 28

In addition, some members of the Jewish community will ask for flexibility to observe the first and last days of Sukkot, another major holiday. Sukkot takes place from sundown on Friday, October 2 to sundown on Thursday, October 8.

Please note that the Jewish Sabbath, also known as Shabbat or Shabbos, takes place from sundown each Friday to sundown on Saturday. Again, please be considerate of Jewish students who request a schedule change due to this weekly holiday.

If you do schedule an event or due date on one of the holidays, be mindful that someone may ask for time off or an extension. Please work with your students and colleagues who observe these holidays.

Faculty and supervisors of student workers can play an important role in supporting Jewish students — and all students of faith. Students may be unsure whether they are permitted to miss classes or work shifts for religious observance. You can assure your students that it is their right to miss classes for religious observance if they so choose. They should not be penalized for being absent. However, each student is responsible to notify his or her instructors or supervisors in advance, and to make up missed work.

For more information about the Jewish High Holy Days, watch the ASL High Points of the High Holidays webinar or contact Jacob Salem, Program Director of Hillel, the organization for Jewish life on campus, at

For information on virtual ASL high holiday services that are open to all, go to

Thank you, and best wishes for a successful academic year.


Dr. Jeffrey W. Lewis
Interim Provost

Dr. Elizabeth A. Moore
Interim Chief Diversity Officer

16 September 2020


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