Brazilian Jewish students to be allowed days off on their holidays

President Jair Bolsonaro has signed a law which protects right of students to be absent from class or exams during religious holidays.

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News 

A new law in Brazil allows Jewish and non-Jewish students to miss school exams and classes for religious reasons.

The legislation stipulates that students are permitted to be absent on any date when, according to their respective religions, the exercise of activities is prohibited.  As a result, Jews will be legally protected in observing the Sabbath on Saturdays, and holidays such as Passover, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur.

“It’s a legitimate demand from the part of the Brazilian population that keeps the Sabbath,” Fernando Lottenberg, president of the Brazilian Israelite Confederation, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA). “It is yet another important victory for the Jewish community and all those involved in this struggle, including the [Seventh-day] Adventists,” he said.

The law takes effect after 60 days. It was signed last Thursday by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro just two days after taking office. The Brazilian leader had just held talks with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who visited to attend the presidential inauguration.

Netanyahu said that Bolsonaro had told him that a move of the Brazilian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem was just a matter of time.

The new law on student religious observance says that absences must be requested ahead of time. Missed exams and classes must be provided on an alternative date or replaced by written assignments or research activities, according to the law.