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For practicing Jewish students, Passover — sandwiched between Spring Fling and finals — came at a particularly tricky time this year.

The timing of the eight-day Jewish holiday, which started April 18, presents obstacles in terms of getting academic deadlines met. Many students are obliged to miss classes, travel home and for a period forgo the acts of writing and using electronics.

While most professors are flexible enough to help students reconcile their academic and religious schedules, many students said they have had to make scarifies to keep up with work.

“It’s definitely challenging,” Wharton senior Elad Golan said. “While everybody else was ‘flinging’ on Wednesday night and Thursday night, I was doing homework.”

College sophomore Rita Wahba also truncated her Fling weekend to finish a paper before the holiday.

“It’s frustrating,” she said of the timing. However, “professors are understanding enough.”

The holiday, in tandem with finals, may help some students not procrastinate, Wahba added.

While Penn, as a secular institution, holds classes during religious holidays such as Passover, it does make exceptions for certain religious festivals that affect “large numbers of University community members,” according to the Penn Almanac.

The University policy on secular and religious holidays states that on Christmas, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Good Friday and the first two days of Passover. “no examinations may be given and no assigned work may be required.”

Though the policy only applies to first two days of Passover, Rob Nelson, associate director of the Provost’s office, said students are usually are able to receive clemency from their professors if they need to miss additional classes or reschedule an exam.

“As far as I know, there has never been an occasion where an accommodation wasn’t made,” he said. There may be the occasional professor — who is new to Penn or higher education — that may not understand Passover, but “those occasions are pretty rare,” he added.

“I think for the most part, the University does a pretty good job working with students in Hillel … in celebrating their various traditions,” Reverend Charles Howard, the University chaplain, agreed.

However, “it’s not easy” for Penn to make exceptions for every religious holiday, Howard explained.

Some religious students said the challenge of balancing their religious observances with their schoolwork is good training for life outside of academia.

College sophomore Eliana Holm said she has come to “appreciate” the fact that she must work around Penn’s calendar.

“We’re at a secular school, so it’s not worth complaining about,” Holm said. “In the real world, it’s the exact same thing. You’re going to have work and you’re going to have to prioritize.”

“I think your secular life and your religious life can coexist and that’s just part of making that work,” Holm added.

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