Letter: Freshman registration conflicts with Shabbat, alienates Jewish students

To the Editor:

I am glad to see that Marichal Gentry is conducting a review of freshman orientation (“Univ. to reevaluate freshman orientation”, 10/22). I hope he will consider a perennial concern of the undergraduate Jewish community. Each year, freshmen are required to attend a 7:30 p.m. Friday evening meeting to register for the semester. This meeting is right in the middle of Friday night Shabbat services and Shabbat dinner, weekly occasions when the Yale Jewish community comes together.

Because of these required meetings, many freshmen (and their parents) are forced to choose between being a part of their primary religious and cultural community and fulfilling a Yale orientation requirement. Furthermore, Orthodox students (who cannot sign forms on Friday night) are often forced to skip these meanings, isolating them from the rest of their peers in their first days at college.

It is time to move freshman registration from Friday evening, to either later in the weekend, or to earlier in the afternoon. Yale orientation should be about freshmen and their parents feeling welcome. Students should not have to choose between logistical requirements and observing their religion with their new community.

David Gershkoff

Oct. 22

Gershkoff is a 2006 graduate of Yale.

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