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Summer School Break Shortened; Holiday Breaks Lengthened

Breaking with tradition, the school year will start on August 26 rather than on September 1. This will allow schools traction before Rosh Hashana.
By Aryeh ben Hayim
First Publish: 5/31/2011, 3:45 PM / Last Update: 5/31/2011, 3:56 PM

Fresh on the heels of yesterday's announcement regarding the revamping of high school teachers' work hours and salary packages, the Education Ministry announced Tuesday that August 26 will replace September 1 as the opening day for most Israeli schools this year, while yeshivas continue their traditional opening at the beginning of the Hebrew month of Elul, preceding Rosh HaShana.

The school year itself will not be extended because the period between Yom Kippur and Succoth will now become a vacation and schools will also be closed an additional day preceding the Passover and Hanukkah vacations.

The rationale behind the idea is to achieve some sort of continuity from the opening of the school year until schools close for the Jewish festivals in the month of Tishrei and give state religious schools time to teach about the holidays in depth.

The new school schedule will impact the Israeli vacation calendar because traditionally the third week in August was the most popular vacation week, with families preferring to return home in the week preceding the opening of the school year. Now things will have to be moved up a week.

On the other hand, the extended vacation between Yom Kippur and Sukkot may encourage Israelis to defer their vacation plans to that time period.