Recalling the egregious scheduling conflict for the 2013 Next Big Idea on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur, one might hope that community-wide event schedulers would be willing to learn from past mistakes and avoid the perception of seeming at best ignorant or at worst exclusionary of the local Jewish community in the future.
In our letter to the editor at the time, we reminded the public that this kind of conflict is the equivalent of scheduling a community-wide event on Christmas or Easter, an occurrence that would obviously never take place.
Last year an apology for lack of knowledge in setting the date for the Next Big Idea was expressed in the following excerpt of an email from Los Alamos MainStreet Executive Director Suzette Fox to a Jewish community member after a local Rabbi spoke with her about the existence of widely accessible Jewish calendars that detail holiday dates years into the future. Fox’s August 2013 email states: “Thank you so much for your information for future reference on Jewish holiday’s. We apologize that we did not know when scheduling the event that there was a conflict. We have set the Next Big idea for second Saturday in September. We will now know where to look for any conflicts in the future.”
For many Jews, this kind of willingness to understand and openness to change is a truly welcome statement that we earnestly take to heart. So much so that it came as a considerable shock that this past weekend the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce Block Party celebration of the newly renovated Central Avenue was scheduled on none other than Yom Kippur! The importance of the block party event is underscored by the attendance of local and state officials such as Los Alamos Chamber Manager Nancy Partridge, State of New Mexico Dist. 43 Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, Los Alamos Councilor Rick Reiss and Los Alamos MainStreet Executive Director Suzette Fox.
How is it possible that Los Alamos community event planners can make the same significant scheduling mistake two years in a row? Why is it that in 2014 the Jewish community was excluded from a community celebration – yet again?