2-day Lag Ba’omer school break irks working parents

Group of parents, supported by Jerusalem City Council member Rachel Azaria, initiate Facebook campaign for less vacation days for kids.

By
April 25, 2013 21:42
2 minute read.
CHILDREN GATHER around a Lag Ba’omer bonfire last year

Lag baomer bonfire 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

Jerusalem parents called on Education Minister Shai Piron this week to reduce the number of school vacation days, which put a strain on working parents who have to find arrangements and improvise activities for their children during those days.

The group of parents, supported by Jerusalem City Council member Rachel Azaria, initiated a Facebook campaign on the subject, as they started protesting the upcoming twoday Lag Ba’omer school vacation, which will take place next week on Sunday and Monday.

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“The economic reality today requires both parents to work full time,” Azaria explained, “Parents are working longer hours with less time off than before.

“The structure of the school year today is not coordinated with working parents, and it creates unbearable tensions between the desire to be with the children and the need to financially support them,” she added.

The campaign states that Israeli children get some 92 days of vacation from the education system per year, while most parents are granted only 10.

Yaara Yeshurun, a working mother who joined the movement, explained that the campaign “is not a battle of parents against teachers, but a call to change a distorted reality.”

“On the one hand, a job market requires infinite work; on the other hand, [we have] an education system which still functions like it did in the days of the establishment of the state,” Yeshurun continued.

“We must balance children and parents’ holidays for the sake of families, the educational system and the job market in Israel,” she said.

The chairwoman of the Knesset Committee for the Status of Women, Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie, also addressed the upcoming Lag Ba’omer vacation.

It “puts parents in an impossible situation,” she said Thursday.

Lavie called on Piron to adjust the holiday calendar for public kindergartens and lower elementary school grades.

“An adjustment limited to young students will not be too heavy on the education system and will allow parents to work,” Lavie explained.

“Unfortunately, it is usually the women who remain at home to take care of the kids, which doesn’t help them promote their status in the workplace,” she continued.

Lavie added that the holiday calendar is “anachronistic and was determined in times when many mothers did not work.”

“Things have changed since,” she said. “The number of single- parent families has increased, and these vacation days are always stuck in the middle of our daily routine.”

Lavie said she would convene the Committee for the Status of Women for a meeting on the subject. According to her, Piron replied that he would examine the issue of vacation days and formulate recommendations soon.


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