Accomodation of Religious Holidays

Hi! I’d like to propose making sure that the dates of Devcon don’t pose conflicts with known religious holidays. If I’m not mistaken, Devcon Osaka had Yom Kippur (a major day in the Jewish calendar) in the middle of it.

I can only provide context for the Jewish calendar. There are a number of holidays grouped together in Q3 of the year, and all would pose difficulties if not flat out impossibilities for attending if Devcon shares dates with them. The Jewish calendar is lunar, so the dates change (in reference to the standard Gregorian calendar) yearly. Next year the ‘holiday season’ ends in late September (the last holiday day is the 29th), so anything in October would already be fine. Devcon has traditionally been in October, so I don’t see this posing a problem, but figured it’s better if I speak up now.

Jewish Sabbath happens weekly from sundown Friday to a bit after nightfall on Saturday. Sabbath observance itself makes an almost certain inability to attend the conference, and truth be told, preperation for Sabbath makes Friday afternoon difficult at best. Devcon has traditionally been Wed-Thurs-Fri, but for Sabbath observers Tues-Wed-Thurs would almost definitely be better. I understand that this may be too big an ask for what I believe is a very small minority of potential attendees, but I figured that I’d bring it up just in case there is a serious discussion about moving it to different days of the week.

In general, I do not expect the Devcon committee to make a decision for a small minority at the expense of the majority, just to be clear. If there are numerous potential dates being discussed, I would merely hope that these considerations be borne in mind, perhaps giving weight to one of roughly equal options.

Thanks a bunch for reading this! Feel free to add other dates that might have a group that would prefer them to be avoided, or to ask me about the above - I’m happy to answer questions.

Thanks for the post! I can tell you that we are making every effort to avoid holidays, both religious in national, in planning for the next Devcon. Venue availability left the team in a difficult position in 2019 in terms of avoiding Yom Kippur, but I’m glad to say that we’re plenty early for 2021 and are accommodating accordingly!

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Thanks for your response! I take it this means that I don’t need to make a formal proposal, then?

Also, what are your thoughts about (Mon-)Tues-Wed-Thurs instead of (Tues-)Wed-Thurs-Fri?

Hi! Interesting suggestion @wschwab ! Could you elaborate a bit more on why you would prefer those days? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

No need! But the thought is very much appreciated. I did make the same point earlier in the year. As for Friday, while I don’t know of exact days just yet, we’ll only have so much maneuverability, but the conference has classically ended before sundown on the final day if the start of Shabbat was of concern.

Thanks for sharing, I’d be interested in expanding the topic a bit and learning about any other Religious considerations from @wschwab and other individuals when it comes dietary needs, spaces for personal prayer rituals and reflection, or any other accommodations that should be considered for people of particular faiths.

Thanks for the responses!

I put my rationale in the post above, but I’ll put it over here too - it was a long-ish post.

“Jewish Sabbath happens weekly from sundown Friday to a bit after nightfall on Saturday. Sabbath observance itself makes an almost certain inability to attend the conference, and truth be told, preparation for Sabbath (also called Shabbat or Shabbos) makes Friday afternoon difficult at best. Devcon has traditionally been Wed-Thurs-Fri, but for Sabbath observers Tues-Wed-Thurs would almost definitely be better. I understand that this may be too big an ask for what I believe is a very small minority of potential attendees, but I figured that I’d bring it up just in case there is a serious discussion about moving it to different days of the week.”

@ethjoe even if the conference ends before sundown, Friday afternoon is extremely difficult, at least in my opinion. When I attended Devcon IV I skipped Friday entirely. Aside from the conference, there’s always everything that goes along with it, too. I personally would be interested in being able to be at my leisure for the evening when the conference ends. I understand that this may be something of a large ask for a small group - I’m not sure how many other attendees will have my set of concerns (I assume there are others, though), which is one of the reasons that I do want to emphasize that this isn’t something I expect to happen just because I asked for it, but at the same time, I figure I might as well mention it in case others also like (Mon-)Tues-Wed-Thurs for their own reasons.

I’ll answer @qnou in a separate answer.

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I can really only speak for Judaism, and as you’ll see, can’t even really speak for all of observant Judaism either.

I personally follow a pretty high standard in terms of kosher (there’s a spectrum even inside strictly keeping kosher), and generally simply assume that I can’t eat any of the food by conferences. The cost-benefit ratio of trying to make sure I have what to eat is unreasonable, in my personal opinion. Other kosher-observant attendees may be able to eat vegan options (probably only uncooked), some might also be able to eat some level of uncooked dairy.

It did just occur to me that I do think there is a kosher supermarket/restaurant in Bogata, though I need to do more research. It would be super cool if Devcon could offer kosher-eaters some kind of deal with them, but again, not expected at all.

Prayer can present an interesting issue. Times that I’ve needed to pray at a conference I’ve done my best to find somewhere quiet and largely empty, and I’m fine with that. Introducing a multi-faith prayer area can raise its own unique issues, and I would personally dissuade it. If there is an active synagogue nearby, I could always slip out during lunch break or something like it. (It may be worth mentioning that the question of prayers at a conference has only ever come up for me with afternoon services (~10-15 min). Morning and evening services I’ve always handled before and after the conference.)

Other issues: I can’t think of any right now. I live in a religious community, so I could easily see myself taking things for granted. I have to say, I’ve always felt welcome in the community, and so much of accommodation is in the community culture.

Thanks for extending the conversation - I hadn’t thought of bringing up these topics!

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