Greenbelt Interfaith News
    U.S. Brief

    September 20, 1997

    Postal Workers Refused Time off for Jewish Holy Days

    At least four postal workers in southern Florida have been denied time off for the high holy days of the Jewish year, Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reports. The office of the United States Postal Service in Coral Springs, Florida, has a policy that only six employees may take a day off at the same time. Out of the office's nearly 100 employees, at least eight are Jewish. According to the JTA, some of the employees who have been granted time off for October 11, when Yom Kippur falls this year, are non-Jews who wish to extend their Columbus Day weekend. A spokeswoman for the South Florida District Postal Service said that, in addition to the six slots already being filled, the Jewish employees waited too long to request the time off.

    Meanwhile, the Jewish Bulletin reports that a similar conflict in northern California has ended peacefully. When the Fremont Union High School District scheduled a marching band tournament for Yom Kippur, parents and a local Jewish community relations organization protested. Upon hearing of the problem, district superintendent Joe Hamilton changed the tournament date. "Our district teaches respect for diversity within our community," said Mr. Hamilton. "And it's important for us, if at all possible, not to step on the toes of or to do offensive things to any group of community members and their culture."

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    ©1997 Heather Elizabeth Peterson