An UNsatisfying Response
Any position is capable of being supported by justification.
See for yourself:
Dear Frume Sarah,
I received your letter stating your concerns regarding the recent change in program hours at the Early Childhood Learning Center and its impact on the current and future generation of Jews.
The mission of our Jewish Community Center, which extends to the ECLC, includes outreach to the Jewish community at large. It strives to enrich Jewish life through recreational, social, educational and cultural activities. The objective is to strengthen the connection with the unaffiliated and marginally affiliated community, and those who maintain a strong Jewish identity as well.
Plans have been made with conscious determination to provide a Jewish experience on the actual holiday. In a community such as ours, many families work through the holidays. Providing their child with a Jewish experience is considered valuable. What could be more sacred that engaging young children in Jewish learning during the holiday that is not observed by their family.
The JCC respects the individual observances of it’s [sic] staff and would not require any employee to go against their [sic] personal beliefs.
There are multiple points of entry into the Jewish community. This provides an additional opportunity for Jewish exploration and growth.
It so happens that I am well-acquainted with the mission of the Jewish Community Center, having served as its Director of Jewish Education for nearly two years. So too am I aware that the overwhelming majority of the membership would consider themselves unaffiliated or marginally affiliated. This response make it clear that there is no pretense of observing the letter of the Law. As mentioned in my letter, a change of culture is neither expected nor requested. It is a reconsideration that I seek.
No one has ever said that being Jewish is easy. In fact, observing a Jewish life in a host-majority culture that is decidedly NOT-Jewish requires being different. And making tough choices. While it is true that “providing their child with a Jewish experience is considered valuable,” seeing a parent stay home from work as commanded in the Torah would also provide a valuable and powerful lesson. Keeping a Jewish school closed on days that most parents will be at work is not a convenient policy. Or popular one. It is, however, the right one.
OH…and by the way… you know “”what could be more sacred that engaging young children in Jewish learning during the holiday that is not observed by their family?” Providing the tools that will empower the families to create home observances that are in accordance with our most sacred days.
While the Center does offer multiple entry points into Judaism, apparently religious behaviour is not one of them.