Teacher Work-Day gives Jewish Students a day to Celebrate Yom Kippur

WCPSS high school students, Eytan Shpurker and Jenni Goldstein, listen to Rabbi Pinchas Herman as he explains Jewish traditions at the Chabad of Raleigh. These students value the importance of learning about the customs and traditions of Judaism.

Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for the Jewish religion, was celebrated on Wednesday, September 23. Jewish students enrolled in traditional schools of the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS) had the day off due to a teacher workday being on the same day.

Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, has central themes of reparation and repentance. On this holiest of days, followers of the Jewish faith are to reflect on sins that have been committed in the past year, be determined not to commit the same sin again, and confess the sin before God.

In the Jewish calendar, Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the year starts with the seventh month of Tishrei. The period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which is ten days later, is known as the period of Yamim Nora’im or “Days of Awe”. According to Jewish tradition, each year God writes each person’s destiny for the following into the Book of Life and waits until Yom Kippur to seal their fate. On the Days of Awe and Yom Kippur, a Jew seeks forgiveness for wrongs committed. At the end of Yom Kippur, one hopes all their sins have been forgiven by God.

Those who celebrate the holiday partake in fasting for 25 hours and in-depth prayer. Most of the day is usually spent in synagogue services.

Jenni Goldstein, a WCPSS student of Jewish faith, said, “We always have to take off for that day [Yom Kippur], since it is the holiest day of the year, so I’m glad that we had the day off to attend service without having to miss a day of school,”

Jewish students enrolled in WCPSS were thankful for the day off: “Think about all the sins from the past year, reflect and confess,” said Eytan Shpurker, a Jewish student at LRHS. “I see Yom Kippur as a holiday not a free day to miss school”.

Shpurker and other students of the Jewish faith were grateful to have the day to concentrate on Yom Kippur and not schoolwork.


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