Part of a Scroll of Esther from Alsace 390 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Religious Students at the National School for Engineers in Haifa succeeded in getting a lesson postponed, originally scheduled at a time that would have prevented them from hearing the Megillah reading for the Purim holiday.
According to the national-religious Kipa news website, the institute’s administration initially refused to cancel the lesson, despite the student’s protestations.
The students claimed that the management of the Engineers School had told them that it was a secular institute that was not obligated to take religious concerns into account.
The students appealed to National Union MK Michael Ben Ari for help, who wrote to Education Minister Gidon Saar, saying that it was “not possible that in the Jewish state, [the students] would not be allowed to read the Megillah. If this would have been an institute abroad there would have been an outcry,” Ben Ari continued. “But here in the Land of Israel, I hear that the shocking lack of consideration that an institute like this shows.”
Asher Sperling, director of the Engineer’s School, said that the school decided not to cancel the lesson as the students requested, but to permit them to absent themselves from it, and also promised that the lesson would not include significant advancement in the course material.
Sperling added that the school is sensitive to the religious needs of all its students, although he said that it might not have been as aware of the sensitivity of the issue as it should have been. He said that the lesson would not take place at the same time next year.Correction:
The institute in question was the National School for Engineers, not the Technion, as previously reported. The Engineers School is located on the Technion's campus. The Technion would like to emphasize that it respects all Jewish holidays and its students' right to observe them, and has also been on vacation for the past two weeks.