For most school districts, a school supplies package would be a regular, non-profit school supply, but for a few in the Orthodox community, it is a special blessing.
In the late 1990s, a group of students and their families were granted a special exemption from the rules governing the use of public school property to receive special supplies.
The exemption, which was extended to all Orthodox families in the United States in 2006, was meant to provide access to the gifts of their Orthodox faith in a non-competitive environment.
At the time, the group, the American Friends of the Orthodox Church in America, was the only Orthodox organization to be granted the exemption.
For many Orthodox children, getting their school supplies through the school district was a big deal, said Rabbi Abraham Efron, executive director of the American Orthodox Union.
For some Orthodox parents, the process was painful and painful for their children.
The exemption was a way to bring their Orthodox Jewish faith to the secular world, Efmon said.
But for the families of the families granted the privilege, it was a huge step.
For those Orthodox families, getting the supplies through their school district would mean that their children would have access to a religious symbol and a place where they could gather for religious services.
The gift of religious symbols and religious activities is the primary reason many Orthodox families choose to use the exemption, said Rebekah Hagg, who runs the American Community of Orthodoxy’s school supplies section.
Hagg said the exemption has helped her to bring a few of her children to school for the first time.
“We are getting together with my husband and two of my children to go to the synagogue and say ‘I’m going to come, too,’ ” Hagg said.
“We’re going to be able to get supplies and be able hold hands, hold hands with our friends, and hold hands in school.”
The exemption has also made it easier for other Orthodox families to obtain religious items, she added.
For the families in Pennsylvania, which has a large Orthodox population, the exemption is especially important.
The state’s Orthodox communities are home to about one-third of the population, making them a particularly hard-hit community, according to the Orthodox Federation of Pennsylvania.
Some of the supplies that the Orthodox family members are getting through the exemption include toys, books, and other materials that are needed for Jewish learning.
Other Orthodox families are also getting religious gifts, like teddy bears, jewelry, and toys.
Efron said that many of the religious items are for the family’s children to bring home to their friends, something that Hagg has been doing for the past couple of years.
Effron said the Orthodox families have a very small number of friends and no formal Jewish education, but that they do use the exception for religious materials that they want to give to their children and their extended families.
Haddad said that the exemption provides a unique opportunity for families to receive their religious gifts and services for their own children and to give them a way of connecting to the Jewish community that is non-judgmental and non-oppressive.
“If we’re going into the public sphere and trying to bring something that is unique to our community and to the state, and we want to be part of that, it makes us really proud to do it,” Haddad added.
The Orthodox community in Pennsylvania is not alone in using the exemption to get religious items.
The American Jewish Congress also provides religious items and services to the public through its Jewish Education Initiative, which includes the purchase of religious items like books, T-shirts, and posters.
The Jewish Federation of North America also offers supplies through its educational and cultural programs.
The Association of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of the United State provides free Jewish educational materials and supplies to schools and to individuals who want to use them.
“It’s really important to give people the ability to get their religious materials and services,” Rabbi Daniel Auerbach, president of the association, said.
He said the organization has seen a dramatic increase in requests for religious material in recent years.
“I think we’ve had a dramatic spike in requests, because of the rise of the internet, especially the internet for secular purposes,” Auerberbach said.
The National Council of Jewish Women is also partnering with the Jewish Federation to provide religious materials.
The alliance also offers a variety of educational materials, including art and crafts, and music lessons.
For families in other areas of the country, the religious exemptions offer a chance to give gifts to their neighbors.
“In some communities, it’s really hard to get items,” said Rabbi Alan Goldberg, executive vice president of Jewish Family Services.
“But for us, it provides an opportunity to get a little bit of the Jewish spirit into the classroom.”