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Jewish Holidays and Start of Fall 2013 Term

August 16, 2013

Dear Graduate Students:

The beginning of the 2013-14 academic year will coincide with the two-day Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, which begins at sundown on the first day of classes, Wednesday, September 4, 2013.  From its founding, Brown has been committed to the principle of religious freedom and we endeavor to accommodate the religious obligations of all members of our community.  A major holiday involving a significant fraction of our community that falls on the first days of class poses special challenges, and I write to convey the University’s plans for ensuring that students observing the holiday are not placed at a disadvantage.

Pre-registration for courses will proceed as usual.

Convocation, which usually occurs at 4 p.m. the first day of classes, will be moved up a day to Tuesday, September 3, 2013.

It is customary for many Brown faculty to require that students attend the opening day or days of their course in order to confirm their enrollment.  Because some students will be unable to attend the first days of class on account of their religious observance, enrollment confirmation for all courses will be delayed until Monday, September 9.

Otherwise, course meetings and assigned work will proceed through the opening days of school in the usual manner.

For courses with enrollments greater than 100, assistance is being offered to faculty to have the classes video-captured on September 5 and 6. In addition, all faculty are urged to post their syllabi online at, and to upload other course materials to Canvas.

Courses that are not meeting on these days can be identified by looking at the Brown Course Scheduler or the Brown Course Search tool in Banner web, which requires log in.  The information is listed in the body of the course description.

We encourage those observing Rosh Hashanah to do so as a member of our campus community. Services open to all on campus will be held at Hillel.

The Deans of the Graduate School, School of Engineering, and School of Public Health, as well as the Chaplains, will be available to consult with or provide support to graduate students who may benefit from their assistance in addressing issues related to this or any other religious observance.

Best wishes,

Peter M. Weber
Dean of the Graduate School
Professor of Chemistry
Brown University