post by Stephanie Nelson
I recently saw a post on Facebook that read:
“Friendly PSA to all my non-Jewish friends:
Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Sunday, September 29th and lasts through sundown Tuesday, October 1st.
Yom Kippur begins at sundown on Tuesday, October 8th and lasts until Wednesday night, October 9th.
During these days, please be thoughtful of those who observe them by not scheduling meetings, conference calls or deadlines. For teachers, please do not schedule tests, presentations, or other mandatory activities. And remember that many of us host family and/or other guests for these holidays.
For those who celebrate Christmas, imagine if everyone wanted something from you between the mornings of December 24th and December 26th while you had multiple things cooking, preparations to be in services, and family and friends coming over.
Be thoughtful, kind, and inclusive.
And greetings: “Happy New Year” is appropriate to say on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. “Have an easy fast” is appropriate to say on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement when Jews traditionally fast for 25 hours.”
While this post was specifically about the Jewish high holidays, it made me think about how I can and should honor practitioners of the world’s different religions. In general, I do try to be respectful of all religions, particularly during their most important holidays. I try to post appropriate sentiments on social media and such at the very least. But this post pointed out simple things I could do to be even more impactful on a personal level – like avoiding meetings, calls, deadlines.
So how can you manage this type of respect without following every major religion? There are calendars you can subscribe to that will put an item on your calendar or send you an email or text notification. If you have a friend or coworker of a different religion from you whom you’re comfortable asking, you can approach them (tactfully, of course). You can do a Google search on your own.
Respecting others’ religions is not an effort for perfection. Most folks will be pleased and honored that you try. So let’s all at least give it a try.