Although schools through Bergen County are closed for Rosh Hashanah on Thursday — and some on Friday, as well — the same isn’t so in North Hudson.
“My son will be starting kindergarten on Thursday at PS#2,” one West New York mom told CLIFFVIEW PILOT, noting the obvious shortcomings of even considering keeping him home for the Jewish New Year. “I’m in a bind.”
“It’s his first day of school but it is a high holiday. I am at a loss what to do.”
In West New York, “it will be a One Session Day without lunch,” according to the district’s Web site. “Dismissal times as follows: Elementary Schools – 12:45pm; Middle School – 12:30pm; High School – 12:17pm.”
Weehawken schools, which reopen today, have one-session days scheduled tomorrow through Friday. The holiday runs from 8 a.m. Thursday to 5 p.m. Friday.
Hoboken’s schools are closed on Thursday, but their counterparts in North Bergen and Union City will be open for full days, as will the Anna L. Klein School in Guttenberg.
The most densely populated county in the most densely populated state has come a long way since the days of the iconic Manischewitz factory in Jersey City, which became THE hub for the company and a gateway to New York City. Operations have since moved to Newark.
Taken as a whole, roughly 40 percent of Hudson County’s population is Hispanic. The median family income is the lowest in New Jersey; the statewide median is $86,000.
Hudson County is surrounded by some of the wealthiest and best-organized Jewish communities in the country, from Bergen to the north and west to New York City due east, and even parts of Essex to the south and west.
For a long time, Hudson was a transfer station, of sorts, for Jewish families who eventually moved to these areas.
But things are changing.
An influex of Puerto Rican and Cuban immigrants enriched Hudson a half-century ago. Yet many of them have moved on, replaced by Dominicans. Gentrification — from North Bergen to Bayonne — has changed a massive slice of the county’s eastern border.
A decade ago, there were an estimated 12,000 Jews in Hudson. That number has been boosted, however, by those who’ve moved into the massive housing developments that have sprouted along the riverfront and in various Jersey City neighborhoods.
Those high rises and commercial buildings, with skyline views and amenities as rich as the rents, have replaced factories that were once the county’s primary job sources.
But working-class jobs still remain. The young Jewish families moving to what is essentially “the 6th borough” are employing local laborers to take care of their children, clean their homes and do other important domestic work — same as their ancestors did when they settled here a century or more ago.
Now, some of them are scrambling to deal with how to prepare for two “new year”s at once.
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