Making Two Holidays Work

Growing up in the South, I was always amazed that some schools and institutions closed on the High Holidays or at least worked major events around them. That is something foreign in parts of the country where there are less Jews.

But this story, from Massachusetts, shows an extremely high level of sensitivity:

For Massachusetts retailers and their customers, the summer sales tax holiday has become an annual tradition. But for Jews observing Tisha B’av, the opportunity to take advantage of this summer’s savings would have been lost without the keen eyes of a local legislator.

“For observant Jews, if there are goings on at synagogue or they want to use that day as a day of prayer, that’s the primary role of that day, and I would never recommend having something as significant as a sales tax holiday [then],� said Cynthia Creem, a Massachusetts state senator and the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Revenue.

Creem received the original proposal for this year’s tax holiday from the committee’s House Chair, Rep. John Binienda, which suggested the tax-free weekend be held on Aug. 9 and 10.

She immediately cross-checked the dates with her office’s Jewish calendar and realized they would conflict with Tisha B’av, which begins at sundown on Aug. 9 and lasts until sundown on Aug. 10. (MORE)

The tax holiday was moved to the following weekend.

Posted on July 28, 2008

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