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Solon Seeks to Make Yom Kippur a Legal Holiday in New York State

April 21, 1983
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Dov Hikind, a Democratic member of the New York State Assembly, said today that he hoped to find soon a leading member of the Republican-dominated State Senate to introduce a bill, similar to the one he has introduced in the Assembly, to make Yom Kippur a legal holiday in the state. Approval of the bill would make New York the first state to make Yom Kippur a legal holiday.

Hikind, of Brooklyn, said he introduced the proposal because, in its absence, an observant Jew may be penalized for taking that day off to observe Yom Kippur. He said such Jews now face the possibility of a deduction of a day’s pay or deduction from sick days, vacation or personal leave days.

Hikind told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that, apart from the fact that adoption of his proposal would establish a national precedent, he was aware of the problem presented by the fact that at the state personnel level, such a new holiday would mean a substantial cost to the state in loss of employe time.

He said that he had obtained bi-partisan sponsorship for the Yom Kippur proposal in the Democratic-dominated Assembly and that he needed to find a leading Senate Republican as an essential step for introduction. Hikind commented that he would have no trouble finding a Jewish State Senator to introduce the measure but that he needed a leading Republican Senator to collect the support of other leading Republican Senators before a parallel measure was introduced in the Senate.


The proposal is co-sponsored in the Assembly by eight Democrats and one Republican. In announcing his introduction of the measure, Hikind said that he supported the law that makes Christmas a legal holiday, adding that “no Christian should have difficulty in observing this day. By the same token, an observant Jew should be able to celebrate his (or her) holiday without incurring any inconvenience or financial loss.”

Hikind told the JTA he was determined to give the proposal a maximum effort, now that the Legislature has adopted the state budget, as it is required by the Constitution to do by April 1, and has now entered the period of debate and action on legislation. He said he would seek to obtain thorough discussion and debate on the Yom Kippur proposal, and “hopefully” approval before the Legislature adjourns its regular session in June.

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