Sao Paolo Declares Jewish Holidays — Ramadan, Too

Brazilian City of 11 Million Gives Jewish Workers Off

By JTA

Published August 10, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Brazilian city of Sao Paulo – which has more than 11 million people – declared Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Ramadan as official holidays.

Jewish and Muslim municipal workers may take two days off during the Jewish High Holidays and Ramadan, respectively. The city has approximately 147,000 employees.

The inclusion of these dates in the municipal list of holidays will be the first time that the municipality recognizes a non-Christian holiday in that manner, according to a statement by the municipality.

Mayor Gilberto Kassab, whose father was born in Lebanon, approved the change. Kassab belongs to Brazil’s Social Democratic Party.

Floriano Pesaro, a Jewish member of the city council, praised the decision. “It has been very difficult to perform one’s tasks on Yom Kippur, when Jews are actually forbidden to work in any way or fashion,” he reportedly said.

Pesaro said he had lobbied for recognition of Yom Kippur last year.

Some 110,000 Jews live in Brazil, and more than half of them in Sao Paolo, according to estimates by the city’s Jewish community.

In 2009, Brazilian Jewish teenagers protested what they called their “exclusion” from a national exam for high school graduates set to take place on Shabbat. A Brazilian court said that providing Jews with an alternative date would “undermine equality.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.