NEWS

No Yom Kippur break needed at city council

09/26/2012 12:56 EDT | Updated 11/25/2012 05:12 EST
Montreal city council avoided a controversy over religious holidays on Tuesday when it concluded its final meeting of the month before the Jewish observance of Yom Kippur began.

Marvin Rotrand, the majority leader at City Hall, had sent a letter to councillors indicating the meeting could be adjourned and resumed Thursday if it didn't end in time for the holiday.

Yom Kippur is considered the most holy day of the year for Jews, who fast for more than 24 hours. It began at sundown on Tuesday and runs until Wednesday at dusk.

Rotrand's letter raised a fuss, with opposition party Vision Montreal saying that the city has residents from dozens of faiths that all have their own holidays, and it can't possibly schedule around them all.

Rotrand, from the Union Montréal party, replied that it's been a tradition for decades for city council to respect the major Christian and Jewish holidays.

In the end, there was no need to adjourn because councillors got through all their business before sundown.

Montreal counts about 80,000 Jewish residents. There are more Muslims and Protestants, while the majority of the city is Roman Catholic.

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