The Power of Our Voice

Last month, the Jewish community of Howard County was thrust into the center of attention of the Board of Education. Upon hearing of a possible calendar option where the holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur would NOT be days off of school, the community mobilized and rallied. The Jewish Federation, together with the Howard County Board of Rabbis, and YOU, have been heard loud and clear by the Board of Ed. You wrote letters and you showed up for the testimony. And they were SURPRISED!


The Board of Ed was surprised not just by our numbers, but by how emotional we were in our testimonies. Whether by email or in person on December 17th, our community spoke out passionately and with conviction about the sacredness of these days and why they must remain as days off on our school calendar.


We’ve accomplished step one – we now have a representative of the Jewish community, appointed by the Federation, serving on the 2017-2018 School Calendar Committee. I know Jeremy Goldman will serve us well in this role, as he is a leader within the Federation and parent of children in the school system. (His elementary age children gave GREAT testimony at the Board of Ed meeting.)


The other unexpected yet welcome result of this proposal is that we are working side by side with other faith and cultural partners during this process. As Rabbi Grossman has said throughout this process, “We know how it feels to be an oppressed minority.” Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to work in partnership with other minority groups in Howard County to achieve the vision on which Columbia was founded: true equality with regard not only to how we live in the county, but how our school calendar reflects our diversity.


Thank you again for all of your support. I will keep the community posted as to the outcome for 2016-2017 school calendar when the board makes its decision later this month.


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