Turkish students to get time off for festivals

By Sami Kohen, December 11, 2008

Jewish students in Turkish universities will be allowed to stay away from classes on Jewish holidays, according to a decision taken by the High Education Board, which is responsible for curriculum programmes and administrative regulations.

The Board issued an instruction to all Turkish universities to permit
Jewish and Armenian students to take off their respective holidays.

This is the first time that the Turkish education authorities have formally taken such a decision.

Until now, requests by Jews and other religious minorities to take time
off during religious holidays were usually granted by universities but on an ad hoc basis.

The decision follows a demand made some time ago by the Chief Rabbinate, which has welcomed the move.

The 23,000 Turkish Jews are mainly traditonalists and most observe the major holidays. Jewish community sources estimate that about 250 Jewish students are now studying in Turkish universities, mostly in Istanbul.

Last updated: 11:51am, December 11 2008