The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) website reports today (August 9, 2010) that the largest school system in Rhode Island is removing the Jewish High Holidays as vacation days after more than 30 years.
The Providence School District deleted Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur on the public school calendar. Absence from school on those days will be excused. The system has more than 23,000 students.
Marty Cooper, community relations director of the Jewish Federation of Rhode Island, said, "This is not an act of anti-Semitism. They thought long and hard about this."
The Jewish population of Providence has been declining, while other religious groups -- including Mulsims -- have been growing. Muslims have lobbied to have their holidays included on school calendars in several U.S. communities in recent years.