By: Jonathan Levin  | 

Winter Break Shortened By Three Days In 2022-23 Calendar

Yeshiva University’s winter break next year will be 11 days, three days shorter than this current year’s 14-day intersession, according to the 2022-23 academic calendar. 

The calendar, recently uploaded to YU’s website, lists intersession as beginning on Shabbat, Jan. 7, 2023 through Tuesday, Jan. 17, giving students a week-and-a-half break between semesters. This year, intersession began on Monday, Jan. 10 and went through Sunday, Jan. 23, giving students nearly two complete weeks. Students were not notified by the university about the calendar’s posting.

A Commentator analysis of next year’s calendar timing of the chagim and legal holidays — and its effects on study days and finals — found that there is a three-day difference in available class days between this year and the next. While YU did not confirm it, this variation may account for the shorter winter break.  

University Registrar Jennifer Spiegel told The Commentator: “Each semester, in order to comply with aid and accreditation requirements, we are required to have 15 weeks of instruction, including exam week, and in order to do so and to allow for closures due to holidays and travel days (and their proximity to weekends), the academic calendar allowed for an intersession of 9 days, an intersession of this length was also in place in prior years. The length of this break often fluctuates in this manner, and intersessions of 9 days have occurred in previous years. The overall number of academic days remains unchanged and is the same as last year.”

Both the fall and spring semesters will be the same length as this year’s academic schedule, with each semester consisting of 56 school days operating on a Monday-Thursday schedule, and 14 days operating on a Friday schedule, including midterms, according to The Commentator’s review of the calendar.

Although the number of instructional days will remain unchanged, there will be some restructuring of study days. In the fall semester, there will be four study days — including one day on a Sunday and on Asara B’Tevet — which will be after four days of finals and a break for New Years. Last semester, there were also four study days, but none were scheduled for a Sunday or in between finals.

In the spring of 2023, there will be four study days as well, including one Sunday. There are only three such days this semester, one of which is also a Sunday. 

In the 2020-2021 academic year, YU gave students five “reading days” — in a period known as “reading week” — before finals. This was shortened in order for the university to meet “the required number of instructional hours,” Spiegel told The Commentator at the time.

Some students were upset that YU did not announce that the calendar was posted. “By quietly uploading the academic calendar to their website and not notifying students of significant changes, YU has once again shown a lack of desire to communicate with their students," Yeshiva Student Union President Elazar Abrahams (YC ‘22) said. 

Spiegel maintained that the Office of the Registrar spoke with students beforehand. “Chad Austein and I met with the Student Leadership several times to discuss the draft and format of the upcoming year’s calendar, including all of the academic requirements and breaks,” she said.

Other students were upset about the shortened break and its potential impact. “I need winter break to recharge properly between semesters and get the boost I need until the summer,” Gaby Rahmanfar (SCW ‘24) said.  “It’s really frustrating that the school is shortening it. The new break really doesn’t feel like a substantial amount of time for a proper recharge.”

The upcoming academic year will also include several days of remote instruction, including every day of instruction between Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot. This is the second year since the start of the pandemic that this has been done.

Similarly to this year, the deadline to drop a course without a “W,” indicating withdrawal on a student’s transcript, is before midterms. This change was originally implemented in the fall 2020 semester, before being delayed a year due to a student protest.

This article was updated on Feb. 25 to include the university's response, which was sent that morning.

Photo Caption: Wilf Campus, Office of the Registrar

Photo Credit: The Commentator