Parent offended by high school open house held on Rosh Hashanah

— A Carman-Ainsworth parent expressed his offense at the date of Carman- Ainsworth High School’s Sept. 9 open house due to the open houses occurring on Rosh Hashanah, a Jewish holiday.

Harold Steinman attended the Sept. 7 Carman- Ainsworth Community Schools Board of Education meeting, saying he is a “proud Carman-Ainsworth parent, and a proud Jewish parent,” and he and his wife have had children in the district for 20 years, with his last child being a senior in the high school this year.

“We’ve been very involved and supportive of Carman-Ainsworth, and have been involved with our children’s education,” he said.

When learning that the high school’s open house fell on the holiday, Steinman said “my wife, I and the Jewish community are offended because Carman scheduled it on a Jewish holiday.”

Steinman said he contacted Supt. Bill Haley, and Haley told him that the calendar he used did not mention Rosh Hashanah. “I have yet to see a calen- dar without Rosh Hashanah listed,” Steinman said. “Haley said it could not be changed.” Steinman further stated that a few years ago, the district scheduled a football game on Yom Kippur, but the game was changed due to the holiday.

“The administration at that time felt it was important enough to change it,” Steinman said. “That involved more change than an open house. In the spring, Haley wrote about diversity in Carman-AInsworth, but what is diversity if Carman cannot show respect by scheduling an event on Rosh Hashanah. I’m very offended, and it’s quite a way to end our association with Carman.”

Steinman suggested to the board that a five to 10-year calendar be devised, showing all religious holidays so “something like this will never happen again.”

Haley, in response, expressed his apologies and regrets to the “oversight,” saying that he had received a letter from the American Jewish Federation, and had tendered a letter of apology to the organization.

“We are pursuing an ecumenical calendar, and I wish to extend my apology and make a commitment to more perseverance in the future,” he said. “I take personal responsibility for that. We are aware of the oversight, and I don’t want your last year to begin badly.”

Accepting the apology, Steinman said he know it was an honest mistake, but “it is not the first time it’s happened.”

“I don’t intend or want to try to put salt into a wound,” he said. “I wanted to make the board aware of what has occurred, so they can be attuned to that. We have the greatest respect for you and the board. I appreciate your apology.”

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