There will be no kosher meals. No Jewish holiday observances. And many — perhaps even most — of the students won’t be Jewish. But if philanthropist Michael Steinhardt has his way, New York City’s first publicly funded school devoted to Hebrew language and culture will open its doors in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, in September 2009.
Now that alternate-side parking has been suspended on almost every conceivable festival, mass or fast day, there is a new front in the battle for religious political muscle in New York: School closings.
Muslim community groups, backed nearly unanimously by the City Council, are pressing for days off in honor of two of their holidays, which would be in addition to closures on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, Christmas and Easter.