Two Embarrassing Event Mistakes

The front page of the Oregonian has recently highlighted two fundraising event mistakes, one much more consequential than the other.

On the lighter side, check out the above t-shirt for the Hood to Coast Relay. The event's organizers have been good sports about their spelling mishap, suggesting that perhaps the shirts will one day be collector's items.

Another race hit the news with a more serious error: Race for the Cure was scheduled for Rosh Hashana. This is a good reminder to event organizers to check for religious or cultural holidays when scheduling, though this event was knowingly scheduled in conflict with Rosh Hashana. Apparently the organizers were constrained by "city policies on the use of Waterfront Park, street closures and security."

However, I still count this in the category of "error." In the words of

Most American Jews expect gentiles to be aware of Rosh Hashanah. It is, after all, listed on most calendars you buy in the store, but remember: the holiday starts at sunset the night before the day shown on your calendar! Many will be offended if you schedule important events, meetings or tests on Rosh Hashanah. Even those who do not go to synagogue and do not observe the holiday may be offended. Imagine how you would feel if someone scheduled such activities on Christmas or Easter, even if you didn't have anything special planned for the day, and you will understand how Jews feel about this holiday.

It's hard to imagine what the race organizers at Komen Oregon were thinking when they chose to proceed with scheduling the race for September 20. I believe it is better to disrupt the traditional scheduling of one's event than to alienate a swathe of your constituency and invite the appearance of disrespect toward a significant religious holiday. Would an early October weekend really have been out of the question?

Speaking of JewFAQ (aka Judaism 101), it's a great source for non-Jewish folks to learn more about Jewish holidays. Check out "A Gentile's Guide to the Jewish Holidays" to learn more about the significance and timing of Jewish holidays.