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It's Rosh Hashanah ... Say Cheese?

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Is scheduling soccer team pictures on a major Jewish holiday okay?

boy standing infront of a goal

Jay Brown: My kids' soccer pictures have been scheduled for tomorrow, which is also Rosh Hashanah. We're Jewish. This definitely rubs me the wrong way.

I hate being put in this position. I'm damned if I do (because skipping temple for soccer pics definitely isn't kosher) and damned if I don't (because the kids will be excluded from their team pictures).

I can't help but think they would NEVER schedule soccer pictures on Easter Sunday or Christmas ... but scheduling them on a High Holy Day in the Jewish religion seems to be no biggie.

I sent a letter to the soccer commissioner, but so far ... crickets. Haven't heard a peep.

What do you think ... should I let them take the pictures and go to temple afterwards, or skip the pictures in honor of the High Holy Day?

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18 comments so far | Post a comment now
michelle September 18, 2009, 12:06 PM

Temple, no question. Otherwise, you are contradicting your own efforts to teach them Jewish values and observance — you are telling them their Jewishness is less important than soccer; that it’s something they can fit into a busy Saturday, rather than the very core of their identity. I would totally treat this as a teaching moment — you could tell your kids outright that they are missing the soccer picture, and why. If you do your job as a parent right, they will grow up feeling proud that they did miss it. Also, and I am an observant Jewish parent myself, I think the soccer authority is under no obligation to honor your request. It would be nice if they did, but we shouldn’t expect the secular world to accommodate religious observance. Sometimes it does accommodate anyway, as in the case of Christmas, but only because the vast majority of people in America are Christian. We are Jews, and in a country where we make up like 2% of the population, your kids are going to face these hard choices plenty of times. You may as well educate them now about how to handle those choices. L’shanah tovah.

BTW, Jewish law does make exceptions where a person can miss observance of Shabbat and high holidays, but only to save a life. That’s in keeping with Jewish ethical tradition.

Jack September 18, 2009, 12:13 PM

My kids play soccer. I know that AYSO in my region shuts down for the chagim. They won’t hold any games or do anything.

It is worth making noise over. The organizers may not know about Rosh Hashanah or understand how important it is.

If they were my kids they’d go to shul and miss the pictures. Good luck, you have support.

Zechariah September 18, 2009, 12:52 PM

While I feel for your situation, I also believe that the USA is a christian nation per-say. All of the other holidays you mentioned are federally recognized holidays. If you really feel that strongly about it, then try to get this one added.

I am afraid I would have to tell you exactly what I would tell a Muslim/Hindu/Buddhist/giantspaghettimonster/etc… That while I feel religion and traditional values are important, you can’t force everyone else to conform to yours specifically.

My advice to you would be to bring it up with the team. If I was in charge I would defiantly be willing to move the day in respect for your religious beliefs. However, don’t think that I (or they) would be required to.

yeah sure you can cause a big stink.. you can get a lawyer.. you may even win. In that time the “team” wont be there or mean anything near as important as a picture of it you want to “cherish.”

I’d go to your place of worship in the end. That world be a great example to your kids on putting Yahweh before the world.

mrben September 18, 2009, 12:57 PM

pics 1st god after, if he was real im sure he wouldnt mind.

raetsel September 18, 2009, 1:00 PM

Seriously - the way you look at this is absolutely ridiculous. Xmas, easter and etc. are no longer solely religious holidays as even secular sorts will celebrate with their children. For you to expect children’s soccer (more than likely either run by the local school system or local government) should pay any attention to religious anything is ridiculous. How about we pay attention to all of them and wipe out half the dates in September while we’re at it (

However, I;d agree with someone else who said you should go to your temple. Most religious people are complete hypocrites with wanting everyone to bow to their beliefs while not following their own little books themselves, and if you don’t go, you’ll be another.

Mike September 18, 2009, 1:35 PM

If you are a devout Jew, skip the pictures and go to temple. But you are perfectly within your rights to write letter to the soccer commissioner, and I encourage you to continue to do so until you get a response (unless your kids don’t plan on playing soccer anymore). You’re not asking “the world to bend to your religious views”, you’re aski for them to simply look at a calendar when they’re planning things.

I work in community theatre. A few years ago we drew up a calendar for our upcoming season. A few days later one of our board members came up to us and pointed out that we had one of our shows scheduled to open on the weekend of one of the High Holy Days. She said not only would Jews not show up that weekend, neither would they audition for the show since it opened on a night they couldn’t be there. Solution? We bumped the date to a week later. The world didn’t end. The Christian/Muslim/Buddhist/Hindu patrons of our theatre (all of which we have) didn’t protest. Life went on.

Michael September 18, 2009, 9:57 PM

And to Zechariah, this is NOT a christian nation. We do NOT have a state religion. And you contradicted yourself, when you said that he doesn’t have the right to force his religious views on others. Christians have been doing it for about 1800 years now, up to the present day. I’m sure ALL the jews out there will agree with me, come Christmas day, THERE IS NOTHING TO DO! Nothing decent on TV, can’t go out anywhere, its like the whole country shuts down. Same with Good Friday and Easter.

Anonymous September 19, 2009, 10:28 AM

sign your kids up for a jewish soccer team

Anonymous September 19, 2009, 4:03 PM

If you don’t like it, pull you kid out of it.

Cheryl September 21, 2009, 5:22 AM

I don’t think that the pictures were scheduled to purposely coincide with your holiday, probably just an oversight. I agree with your writing the letter to the commissioner. Maybe next year it will be taken into consideration. Some of the comments here are so sad to me. I thought we as a country are supposed to be tolerant of one another. I say you should celebrate your holiday and skip the picture.

rachel September 21, 2009, 6:12 AM

Zechariah - this is NOT a “Christian” country -this is a country based on religious freedom.

I’m so tired of the double standard we Jews receive. When I have to use a VACATION day to observe my holy days I am told by co-workers how “lucky” I am to get off so many holidays. NO I’m not lucky because the Christians actually get off for their holidays and the Jews (if they are allowed) have to use their own vacation time. Same thing for my kids - every year I have to write notes to excuse them for holy days but Christian kids get off a week for xmas & easter.

I would definitely have the picture schedule changed - I’d contact other parents and explain that having the pictures scheduled on Rosh Hashannah would be the same as having the pictures scheduled on Christmas.

Sandy October 19, 2009, 5:05 PM

someone needs to take down Heinrich’s racist comment.

LarryXA November 6, 2009, 11:32 AM

Thx, this has definitely made my day!


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