Rabbi Shlomo Zarchi is confused. One day after fasting for 24 hours and leading services for Yom Kippur, the most holy day on the Jewish calendar, he's going to be back at work on Sept. 29. And yet, citing that very same Jewish holiday, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors plans to nix its Sept. 29 meeting.
That elected officials — 10 of 11 of whom are not Jewish — would be taking a “Jewish holiday” on a day when every rabbi in the city will be heading into the office struck Zarchi as weird. He even offered up a biblical precedent as to why this is weird.
“Moses is like the first supervisor — he was the guy dealing with all the people's complaints,” says the rabbi at Congregation Chevra Thilim, which claims to be the city's oldest Orthodox congregation. “The bible says Moses sat down and adjudicated the problems of his people the morning after the first Yom Kippur. So we know Moses went to work the day after Yom Kippur. And if all the rabbis are going to work the day after Yom Kippur…” Zarchi let his voice trail off, his point made.
When SF Weekly asked members of the Board why they would take the day after a major Jewish holiday off, they, too, were mystified. Bevan Dufty, the sole Jewish supervisor, was perplexed, noted he hadn't asked for this, and stated that the supes should meet. Dufty phoned the office of Supervisor David Chiu, and now the board president is looking into holding a meeting on Sept. 29 after all.
As to how this situation ever came about, like the calendar placements of the Jewish holidays — it's a bit complicated.