The first day of school holds a certain kind of magic – the anticipation, the fresh beginning, the promise. It is a day filled with symbolic significance for students from kindergarten to college. In Minnesota, this first day of school occurs in September and has at times conflicted with the Jewish high holidays, forcing students, staff, and faculty to choose between their religious practice and the symbolic start of their education.
Over the past decade, more school districts have begun to recognize non-Christian faith holidays as they plan their academic calendars. These changes and the shifting respect for other religions and cultures didn’t happen overnight, but rather have played out over a decades-long struggle for minority visibility and understanding.
This exhibit examines the history of Jewish community members working with local school districts to make space for Jewish Minnesotans to practice their religion without conflict.
The exhibit is presented by the Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives at the University of Minnesota.
What: Symbolic Significance: Tracing the History of Jewish High Holidays and the First Day of School, presented by the Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives
When: Aug. 21, 2023 through Jan. 30, 2024
Where: Elmer L. Andersen Library, Third Floor | Open during library hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday; and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday) | Parking & directions