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Yom Kippur is Wednesday, and is now a holiday in the Park City School District

 More than 400 families belong to Park City's Temple Har Shalom.
Jon Scarlet
More than 400 families belong to Park City's Temple Har Shalom.

Park City schools have a new holiday this year. They will be closed for Yom Kippur, a Jewish high holiday. 

In the Jewish faith Yom Kippur is the day of atonement and it’s considered the holiest day of the Jewish year. It marks the end of the high holy days – a holiday period that begins with Rosh Hashanah, the observance of the Jewish New Year.

Yom Kippur offers a chance for people to change their fate through prayer, repentance and charity. Jewish temples have religious services and some people fast from sun up to sun down, while others don’t drive or work. It falls on different dates each year depending on the Jewish calendar.

This year it’s on Wednesday October 5th and schools will be closed.

Mary Morgan is the co-president of the Park City Educators Association and sits on the calendar committee for the union. She said in the 25 years she’s been teaching in Park City this is the first time Yom Kippur has been recognized as a holiday. While she’s not Jewish, she said working on Yom Kippur for the Jewish community is akin to working on Christmas day for people who celebrate Christmas.

“I have always heard from my teacher friends who are Jewish, how they needed to take a personal day to celebrate a high holiday for them," Morgan said. "And so for years, they have tried to advocate to at least recognize the holiday. So that people know not to schedule concerts or not to schedule events, major events, on those high holidays. And I think as a community that we tend to not understand or not know, what these high holidays really mean for our Jewish community.”

Morgan said it’s more important than ever that the district acknowledge the needs of the Jewish community.

“We just want to make sure that everybody is recognized, and especially over COVID, we saw such a huge growth in our Jewish community that one of our teachers had mentioned to me that the Jewish community had grown by some, like 100% over COVID.”

While the exact number of Jewish students, teachers and employees in Park City isn’t known, Park City’s Temple Har Shalom counts more than 400 families as members.

Schools will re-open on Thursday, October 6th.