HU sets exams for Shushan Purim

When Shushan Purim falls on Shabbat, as it does this year, its obligations are split between Friday and Sunday.

purim kids 88 (photo credit: )
purim kids 88
(photo credit: )
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has scheduled a day of exams that conflicts with the celebration of Purim in Jerusalem. This year, because of a quirk in the Hebrew calendar, Purim in Jerusalem is spread out from Thursday night, March 20, to Sunday afternoon, March 23. While the university has given the students Thursday and Friday off, it has refused to make Sunday a half day, which would enable religious students to have the mandatory celebratory meal on Sunday afternoon. When Shushan Purim falls on Shabbat, as it does this year, its obligations are split between Friday and Sunday. The megilla of Esther is read on Friday, but the seuda (celebratory meal) that rounds out the celebration of Purim is moved to Sunday afternoon, before sunset. The giving of mishloach manot (ritual food baskets) to friends and relatives is also moved to Sunday. Shushan Purim is only celebrated in cities that were walled in the time of Joshua. The Hebrew University Student Union attempted to persuade the school to modify its schedule, a spokeswoman said, but to no avail. Jordana Luks, who is studying for a master's in political science, was stunned when she found out about the exams. "It's very frustrating because the [now settled senior lecturer's] strike has complicated things, not only by postponing school for three months, but also because the exams for classes that were held during the strike are now during the semester. "The first opportunity to take the test was a Thursday night or Friday, which was not very convenient. The second opportunity is that Sunday [Shushan Purim] and the third opportunity is the day right after Pessah ends," she said. "I timed my aliya so that I could start this program in university. I waited three months to start school and now all my exams are at irregular times and have affected all my other plans, like working, visiting my family, celebrating holidays. It's like they said to me: 'Sorry, you have to wake up at 8 a.m. to take an exam and can't celebrate the seuda,' and it is happening in the Jewish state. In America, this would never have happened to me," Luks said. "Overall, the university has not been accommodating to the students with the new schedule. They've made a schedule that is best for them." The university sent a short statement in response to The Jerusalem Post's query: "There is no halachic prohibition from studying on Purim or Shushan Purim. Because of the crowded schedule that resulted from the professors' strike, the university was forced to take advantage of all possible days for classes."