Public Schools and the High Holy Days
One of the High Holy Days decisions parents face is whether to keep their kids home from school on Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). Many Jewish parents, even if they aren’t particularly religious, take off work and have kids stay home from school for some or all of these holidays. Most parents who do this go to synagogue services for at least some part of the day, and often kids go with them and may even attend special children’s services.
If you decide to keep your kids home from school for any part of the High Holy Days, it’s a good idea to ask the school if they are familiar with these holidays and what kind of communication they require in order to make the absence an excused absence. While many schools in major North American cities are experienced and comfortable with allowing students to miss class for these holidays, many aren’t, so your best bet is to speak with other parents who are planning to keep their kids home, and to communicate pro-actively with school administrators. For middle and high school age kids, it can be a good idea to clarify what accommodations their teachers will make for these absences, especially regarding homework or quizzes, etc.