Shavuot
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The University of Pennsylvania announced it will not move its commencement from Shavuot to another date, refusing to take into account a petition which asks for the event to be moved to accommodate Jewish students who observe the holiday.

The petition was signed by more than 1,600 students and alumni. It asked that the university consider moving the commencement ceremony to another date.

The Philadelphia university’s student newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian, reported that approximately 40 seniors who are Orthodox Jews were sent notice of the school’s decision not to move the ceremony on March 24.

The email stated that commencement could not be moved due to logistical reasons. “The details and logistics of executing an event of this scale have been set for well over a year, and it is not feasible to move the ceremony even without other in-person school ceremonies in place.”

The university stated on the commencement website that it will provide “alternate arrangements” for Jewish students unable to attend the event. These include, making arrangements so observant students could attend the ceremony without having to use any technology or carry items; being able to complete pre-registration and COVID testing ahead of time so as not to conflict with Shabbat or Shavuot; posting a full recording of the event for watching at a later date; and having the campus Hillel facilitate “rabbinic guidance on this topic.”

The undergraduate student population is reportedly 17 percent Jewish. Besides Hillel, there is also a large Chabad House at the school.