Monday, November 29, 2004

THANKSGIVING THINKING

Don't let the previous post mislead you. This blog is pro-Turkey and pro-Chanukah gifts. What we oppose is stupidity. Here's another Thanksgiving example.

The local school for blackhat boys was open on Thursday, Thanksgiving, until 1 pm, and closed on Friday. This confuses us.

To our mind, there are four intellectually conherent positions a Jewish school could take on Thanksgiving.

Intellectually Coherent Position #1: Thanksgiving is not our holiday, and should be ignored. If this is the local school's view why close on Thursday afternoon and Friday?

Intellectually Coherent Position #2: Thanksgiving is not our holiday, but concerns us because its observance interrupts the study of Torah. If this is the local school's view why not close for half of Friday, too? Is Thursday's Torah study more valuable than Friday's Torah study?

Intellectually Coherent Position #3: Thanksgiving it not our holiday, but we recognize the value of families enjoying time together. If this is the local school's view why not close for Thursday morning, too?

Intellectually Coherent Position #4: Thanksgiving is our holiday (we're American after all) and its observation is a civic celebration is which we should take part. If this is the local school's view, why not close for the whole day, and open on Friday?

7 comments:

PsychoToddler said...

The early dismissals are probably a combo of issues related to availability of secular teachers and acknowledgement that some families do have dinners and or travel issues.

Anonymous said...

PT -

If they are willing to make this concession to the holiday, why didn't they close on Thursday morning, too?

Because this would have been "bitul torah?"

Ok, so why did they close on Friday morning? That was "bitul torah," too, wasn't it? Friday's Torah is no less valuable than Thursday's, is it?

Zman Biur said...

They presumably were open on Thursday morning in order to make the point that Thanksgiving is not their (our) holiday. That point having been made, they closed the rest of Thursday and Friday for practical reasons, since many students and teachers would not come in anyway (I expect many of the students were absent Thursday morning too.)

Since Friday isn't a holiday anyway, it doesn't pose a problem.

I expect they're open half a day Christmas too.

(I wonder what they do on New Year's - or do they hold it's not a religious holiday and therefore not an issue?)

DovBear said...

Why did this point need to be made? Was the school leadership afraid that the schools reputation would be irrevocably damaged? ("Yes, its a great school, with fantastic rabonim and teachers, and we really love it, but they were open on Thanksgiving so that's it: we're pulling our kids out.")

Anyway, closing for half of Thursday suggests that Thanksgiving is entitled to some recognition. If it's not our holiday, the school should not have closed at all.

Anonymous said...

::They presumably were open on Thursday morning in order to make the point that Thanksgiving is not their (our) holiday::

So they inconvininced everyone - parents, kids, teachers - just to make a stupid symbolic point? What morons.

And the point was undermined, because by closing on Thursday afternon and Friday they are still admitting that it is a holiday weekend.

Pure insecure idiots.

Zman Biur said...

Symbolic actions are pervasive in halacha. There is nothing stupid or moronic about them.

For that matter, celebrating Thanksgiving is itself about symbolic actions. How Jews should relate to it is a legitimate halachic question. Presumably the school consulted with a posek and followed his ruling. Why don't you ask who it was and find out the basis for the psak, rather than speculating - and deriding it?

Zman Biur said...
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