Sunday, October 9, 2011

Robbing Peter to pay Paul

Shavua tov and shanah tovah!

Wondering why the country seems to be awash in schoolchildren today – even though Succot doesn’t start until Wednesday night IY”H?

Well, you’re not alone.

And thus, recognizing the widespread confusion and trying - no doubt - to be helpful, the Education Ministry posted the following explanation on its website:

חופשת הקיץ תקוצר בחמישה ימים. ימי החופשה שנגרעו מחופשת הקיץ יתווספו במהלך שנת הלימודים התשע"ב... בין יום הכיפורים לחג הסוכות יתווספו שלושה ימי חופשה. החופשה תחל ביום  שישי, ט' בתשרי התשע"ב, 7.10.2011. חופשת החנוכה תוקדם ביום אחד, ותחל ביום רביעי, כ"ה בכסלו התשע"ב, 21.12.2011. חופשת הפסח תוקדם ביום אחד ותחל ביום רביעי, ה' בניסן התשע"ב, 28.3.2012. חופשת הקיץ תקוצר בחמישה ימים ותסתיים ביום ראשון, ח' באלול התשע"ב, 26.8.2012 (במקום ב-31.8, כפי שהיה מקובל בעבר).

Loose translation:

  1. The 5772 (2012) summer vacation will be five days shorter than usual.
  2. In order to make up the days, three days will be added to the 5772 Succot vacation (hence, this week’s hordes of seemingly-delinquent kids), one day to the 5772 Chanukah vacation, and one day to the 5772 Pesach vacation.
  3. The 5773 (2012-2013) school year will begin on August 27 (instead of the traditional September 1).

So there you have it.

Or maybe not.

Because if you think about it for a minute, you’ll realize that the Education Ministry is, in effect, organizing what can only be described as a Ponzi scheme. (Hat tip: YCT)

After all, they’re taking five days from the 5772 school year (i.e the “Peter” of this post’s title) in order to make up for the lengthened 5773 school year (i.e the “Paul” of the title)…


Is this moral? Ethical? Logical?

Does it serve any useful purpose whatsoever?

I’ll let you be the judge…


  1. Since my head starts to hurt when I try to even think about the numerical section of your post, I'll comment on the title.

    A possible source for that expression: "Many folks believe that this metaphor has its origin in 16th-century England, when part of the estate of Saint Peter's Cathedral in Westminster was appropriated to pay for repairs to Saint Paul's in London." Interesting choice on your part!

  2. Leora - LOL! I was hoping someone would comment on the incongruity of a Jewish-Israeli blogger using that expression as a title! :-)

  3. Funny expression (ie the title). The French say "Undressing Pierre (Peter) to dress Paul".

  4. Ilana-Davita - That's interesting that the expression is slightly different in the two languages. Chag samei'ach!


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