Published On: Fri, Sep 18th, 2015

Objections Raised Over Monthly Meeting During Jewish Holiday

By CRA News Service

Government officials have long crossed swords over the observance of the Jewish high holy days of Rosh Hashana.

And now the co-founders of the area’s largest independent group of PR, marketing and communications professionals find themselves at odds over the same issue.

Barry Epstein, co-founder of the nonprofit Gold Coast public relations council, thinks the club should cancel its monthly luncheon meeting on Tuesday, considering it is the second day of Rosh Hashana, one of the holiest days of the Jewish calendar.

Calling it insensitive and insulting to the Jewish community, Epstein reached out to fellow co-founder Gary Schweikhart, and a past president of the group, which they founded in 2003.

“I think that this is a really offensive to all the Jewish people,” Epstein said. “Every other group that I know who scheduled events that week have rescheduled their programs. I asked Gary, ‘Would you have scheduled something on Good Friday?’”

Schweikhart said he had no problems with foregoing this month’s luncheon but an informal poll of the members showed that Epstein was the only one who wanted the change, he added.

“I invited him to come to Board of Directors meeting and share his concern, but he did not come,” Schweikhart said on Monday.

Had the Board of Directors objected to the meeting, ‘We definitely would have postponed the event,” he added.

Epstein said he wanted to attend the meeting but did not have a ride, as he no longer drives because of health reasons.

Meanwhile, Epstein was so hot he fired off a missive on Monday resigning from the group.

“I hereby resign from the Gold Coast public relations council due to the inaction of the board to observe the Jewish New Year holiday,” he wrote. “Please share this with the board and members informing them of the reason.”

The Jewish new year, Rosh Hashana, began Sunday at sundown and ended Tuesday evening at sundown.. Each year, the two-day holiday falls on a different day since the Hebrew calendar determines the date.  Even though the date changes, the holiday tends to fall between Labor Day and Columbus Day and lasts for two days.

Most Reform congregations in North America celebrate Rosh Hashana for one day, Epstein said.

In the Orthodox and Conservative movements — and, to a lesser extent, among Reform Jews — the second day of Rosh Hashana is considered as stringent as the first, Epstein added.

Each year, many school districts across the country that serve large Jewish populations, have found themselves in public squabble after failing to observe the day.

Palm Beach County public schools were closed Monday in observance of the holiday.

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  1. Barry Epstein says:

    It was not a poll of the members, just the board of directors.

  2. In this day and age of lying and bashing of religious tenets,it is, “heart warming”, to see one of our communities’
    leaders, Barry Epstein,stand up and appeal for us to regain our senses and self-respect of the Judeo-Christian faiths that this country is founded upon !!! More power to him !

  3. Sam Dennis says:

    You’re making a mountain out of a molehill, aren’t you?

    For most American Jews the 2nd day of Rosh Hashona is relatively benign. Save your indignation for those who don’t observe Yom Kippur.

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