NYC Jewish Students & Educators Petition to Restore Time Off for Passover

For the first time in nearly 40 years, New York City public schools will be open during Passover, placing a hardship on Jewish educators and students observing one of the most important holidays in their religion.

Public school
A New York City public school (Photo by Leonard Zhukovsky/

Since 1973—when Jewish teachers successfully agitated to align the school calendar to include Passover, in addition to Easter, as part of the annual spring break—the Christian and Jewish holy days have overlapped.

But in 2024, a rare three-week gap separates the two, making a weeklong recess that includes both holidays a mathematical impossibility. The 2023-24 school-year calendar therefore has April 29 and 30, the final two days of the eight-day Passover observance, assigned as regular school days.

“People who celebrate Passover are a part of the rich fabric of our city.”

“I am required by my religion to take those days off, regardless of whether we have school or not,” said Yocheved Diskind, who works at a West Harlem public school.

Diskind is one of some 3,000 people to sign a petition calling on New York City Mayor Eric Adams to extend the spring recess to include the Passover holiday. Citing New York City’s 1.6 million Jews, the petition states, “People who celebrate Passover are a part of the rich fabric of our city. The Passover holiday should not be an arena for givebacks and increased instructional days without compensation. The proposed calendar is especially disturbing in light of the increase in anti-Semitic rhetoric and attacks in recent years, particularly in New York City.”

Members of the New York City Jewish community have even more reason to expect the Passover accommodation given the City’s increasing efforts to accommodate religious observances for members of diverse faiths in recent years—including Hindus and Muslims.

As a nonprofit seeking to build a world that is safe and inclusive for members of every faith, STAND supports equal accommodation for the Jewish communities of New York.