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Proposal to Close Public Schools on Yom Kippur Rejected in Passaic

The Passaic Board of Education rejected a recommendation of its school superintendent to close all public schools on October 8, the date of Yom Kippur. The vote to keep the schools open on that day was seven to one. Dr. Clifford Jones, the superintendent, told the board that last year on a similar holiday, 110 teachers were absent and that he expected at least one-third of the faculty would be absent on Yom Kippur.

His recommendation to close the schools was supported only by Commissioner Benjamin Weiss, who noted that since one-third of the Passaic teachers were Jewish, keeping the schools open was not justified. He proposed that the day be declared a holiday and that the board adopt a policy of closing the schools on all major religious holidays, such as Holy Thursday before Easter when Catholic teachers usually were absent.