Resources for Religious Community & Accommodations

NYU Law is committed to fostering a supportive and inclusive environment for community members of all faiths. 


Across NYU and the Law School, there are many resources for finding your faith community, including:

Religious Accommodations

In alignment with the University Calendar Policy on Religious Holidays, the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Academic Services works with students to identify reasonable accommodations that may be needed in observance of religious holidays and practices. Accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis, and may include exam postponements, assistance with course scheduling, and recording of class for absences related to religious observance. 

Students should feel empowered to reach out to their professors to coordinate accommodations related to course meetings and assignments. For accommodations related to exams, students should not reach out to their faculty and should instead submit a postponement request via ExamReporter, which will be coordinated by the Office of Academic Services. When possible, please reach out as early as possible so there is ample time for planning. If a student is in need of additional support, they should contact the Office of Student Affairs at for next steps.

Additional Resources: Holidays & Practices

Part of creating an inclusive community is supporting peers engaging with religious and cultural practice. This practice may look a variety of ways. It is expected that fellow students, staff, and faculty refrain from stigmatizing religious or cultural practices, and it is prohibited to discriminate against or harass someone because of their religion, creed, national origin, ethnicity, or shared ancestry, among other protected characteristics.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion, in collaboration with student affinity groups, have put together some best practices for how best to support peers who might be observing various holidays. The below is not an exhaustive list, but highlights a few of the most widely observed holidays among various faiths and generally when they fall in the current and upcoming calendar year. You may also wish to review a full calendar of religious holidays.

General Tips
  • Be familiar with the most important holidays among religious communities, and consider not planning events or activities (particularly those that are required) for days and times.  
    • Many faiths’ holidays are connected with a lunar calendar, so dates may change from year to year. Some sects or subgroups of religious communities may have different interpretations of when a holiday starts and ends, so all dates are approximate. 
  • Value your friends’ and colleagues’ needs around food. If planning an event, ensure that you inquire about dietary restrictions, including religious restrictions such as kosher, halal, or abstaining from pork for religious reasons. 
  • If a holiday involves fasting and you are planning an event, consider planning it for a time when the fast is broken, or providing takeaway boxes for fasting students to grab food to break their fast with later.
  • Consider doing some research on the holidays that are important to a friend, colleague, or group. What significance might that time of year hold? What might you say for well-wishes or support? 
  • Remember that within religious communities, there is often a great deal of diversity in terms of ritual, observance, and belief. You may know multiple people who identify with the same religion, but practice that religion very differently. Invite folks in your communities to share with you what specific support they may need or want during times of religious observance. 
  • Express friendly curiosity about your friends’ and colleagues’ plans for celebrating and observing religious holidays. 
Rosh Hashanah (September/October)

Rosh Hashanah is the first of the Jewish High Holy Days (the most important Jewish holidays), and is the New Year celebration for Jewish communities. Observing Rosh Hashanah typically includes attending religious services, sounding the shofar (a ram’s horn instrument with religious significance), and eating celebratory meals with family and friends. Observing Rosh Hashanah means that some Jewish community members may miss classes and activities. 

  • To wish a friend well on Rosh Hashanah, you can say “Shana tovah” (“good year”).

2024: Sundown on October 1 to sundown on October 3
2025: Sundown on September 22 to sundown on September 24

Yom Kippur (September/October)

Yom Kippur is another of the Jewish High Holy Days, and is the Jewish day of atonement. It is the day where the most Jewish individuals attend religious services, and typically will abstain from work or school on this day. Yom Kippur also involves fasting, so folks may have plans to eat a meal before their fast the night before. Observing Yom Kippur means that many Jewish community members may miss classes and activities, and will be fasting. 

  • You can wish a friend “Shana tovah” (“good year”) on Yom Kippur as well as Rosh Hashanah. 
  • To those who are fasting, you can express well-wishes by saying “Have a meaningful fast” or “Have an easy fast.” 

2024: Sundown on October 11 to sundown on October 12
2025: Sundown on October 1 to sundown on October 2

Sukkot (September/October)

Sukkot is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the Biblical period of wandering in the desert, and lasts seven days. It is not observed as widely as the High Holy Days, but some Jewish community members may abstain from work or school for one to two days at the beginning of Sukkot, and avoid traveling for its duration.

  • You can wish a friend “Chag sameach” (“Happy holiday”) during Sukkot. 
  • Pay special attention to scheduling and expectations of Jewish community members during the first two days of Sukkot when some may not be able to attend classes or events. 

2024: Sundown on October 16 to sundown on October 23
2025: Sundown on October 6 to sundown on October 13

Samhain (October)

Samhain is a holiday celebrated by many Pagan religions that celebrates the end of the harvest and the beginning of the colder half of the year. Many individuals consider it the beginning of a spiritual new year or cycle. Samhain may be celebrated in a variety of ways, including making offerings, reflecting on the past season, commemorating lost loved ones, and preparing communal feasts. 

  • You can wish a friend “Good Samhain” on this day.
  • As Samhain intersects with Halloween, ensure that you are respectful of the differences between cultural depictions of Paganism and witchcraft and the spiritual observance of those of Pagan religions. 

Samhain is usually celebrated from October 31 to November 1.

Diwali (October/November)

Diwali is a festival of lights; it is primarily celebrated by Hindu communities, but is also observed by some Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists, with different interpretations of the stories. Celebrants will usually decorate homes, temples, and communities with lights and other significant symbols. Communal feasts and fireworks are also common; Diwali is often considered a “homecoming” event for families and communities to reunite and bond. Diwali lasts five to six days.

  • You can wish a friend “Happy Diwali” during this period, and express wishes for love, light, and purpose in the year ahead. 
  • Many folks celebrating Diwali might be traveling to see family and friends during this time, so keep that in mind when planning events and activities. 

2024: November 1
2025: October 20

Guru Nanak Jayanti/Gurpurab (November)

Guru Nanak Jayanti, also known as Gurpurab, is widely considered the most important festival for Sikhs. It celebrates the birth of the first Guru, Guru Nanak Dev, whose verses form foundational tenets of the Sikh faith (including community service, social justice, and prosperity). Celebrants will begin celebrating two days prior by gathering in gurudwaras (Sikh places of assembly) for recitations of the Guru Granth Sahib, a Nagarkirtan procession, and joyful celebration including decorations and performances. Many Sikhs will also engage in more community service and food- or wealth-sharing during this time.

  • To wish a celebrant well, you can say “Happy Gurpurab,” “Happy Guru Nanak Jayanti,” or “May the blessing of Wahe Guru be with you.” 
  • Though Gurpurab is formally one day, be aware that Sikh community members may be engaged in planning and celebration for the few days before as well. 

2024: November 30
2025: November 5

Hanukkah (December)

Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights, and commemorates a miracle where one day’s supply of oil for a menorah lasted for eight days. Hanukkah is considered a minor Jewish holiday, but many Jewish individuals will gather with close family/friends to light candles and say blessings on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. Fried food is also popular, in memory of the miracle of the oil. Those observing Hanukkah will typically not abstain from work or school, but they may prefer to be home in the evenings to light candles with family. 

Despite depiction and merchandising in the United States, Hanukkah should not be considered a “Jewish Christmas.” While many Jewish Americans appreciate the visibility given to Hanukkah and therefore the Jewish community, the more important Jewish holidays are the High Holy Days. 

  • If events are taking place during the evening, consider allowing space for the nightly lighting of candles and blessings.
  • You can wish a friend “Chag sameach” or “Chag Hanukkah sameach” (“Happy holiday”/“Happy Hanukkah”) on Hanukkah. 

2024: Sundown on December 24 to sundown on January 2
2025: Sundown on December 13 to sundown on December 22

Yule (December)

Yule is a winter festival celebrated by various branches of Pagan religions, and coincides with the winter solstice. Those observing Yule may gather for communal feasts and offerings, as well as reflecting on ideas of rebirth, transformation, creativity, and ridding oneself of old habits.

  • You can say “Good Yule” or “Happy Yule” to wish a friend well during this time.
  • Though Yule and Christmas are often conflated, understand the nuance of how a friend or colleague  celebrating Yule is observing. 

Yule always falls on the winter solstice, which is usually December 21. 

Christmas (December)

Perhaps the most well-known religious holiday across the United States, Christmas is a Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus. Though many secular individuals celebrate Christmas with gift-giving and family meals, those who observe Christmas religiously may attend church services, sometimes including a reenactment of the story of Jesus’ birth, or engage in community service work. Christians often do not work on Christmas, though in the United States many workplaces will treat Christmas as part of a winter break. Though most Christian sects celebrate Christmas, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not. 

  • You can wish a friend “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Christmas” on this day. 
  • Understand how different individuals of different Christian faiths or secular communities may celebrate Christmas. 

Christmas is usually observed on December 25. Orthodox Christians or Rastafarians may celebrate Christmas on January 7. 

Kwanzaa (December)

Kwanzaa is a seven-day period celebrating Black American culture in the United States. Created in 1966 by Maulana Kerenga, Kwanzaa is based on Southeast and West African harvest traditions, and uplifts values such as unity, creativity, and collective work. Candles are lit on each night of Kwanzaa, which centers a different value. Houses and community centers are often decorated, and a communal meal is often shared on the sixth night (December 31).

You can greet a friend celebrating Kwanzaa with the phrase “Habari gani,” Swahili for “What is the news?”

Since Kwanzaa is close to Christmas and coincides with New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, make sure that you do not forget it in your well-wishes to friends and colleagues who may be celebrating. 

Kwanzaa takes place from December 26 to January 1 every year.

Lunar New Year (January/February)

Lunar New Year is a celebration of the first new moon of a lunar year, celebrated by many cultures worldwide, especially across the Asian continent. It is called a variety of things (including Tết Nguyên Đán, Seollal, Chinese New Year, and many more), and may be celebrated on a variety of dates. The most widespread celebration in the United States typically occurs in February, and is marked by decorations, the giving of gifts and/or money, communal meals, and performances. Many individuals celebrating Lunar New Year will take off work or school on this day. 

  • If a friend is celebrating a version of Lunar New Year, consider becoming familiar with the well-wishing phrases in that language. For example, to wish someone a happy new year in Mandarin, you can say “gōng xǐ fā cái” (“gong-sshee faa-tseye”) or “gong hay fat choy” in Cantonese. 
Ash Wednesday (February/March)

Ash Wednesday is a Christian holiday denoting the first day of Lent. Not all Christian denominations observe Ash Wednesday, but many do. Some folks may either fast or abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday, and many will attend church services where they receive marks of ash on their foreheads (made from the burned palm leaves from the previous year’s Palm Sunday). 

  • Be particularly cautious of scheduling in the morning of Ash Wednesday when many will attend services. 
  • The ash will remain on an observer’s forehead all day; avoid making comments or remarks or attempting to wipe it away. 

2024: February 14
2025: March 5

Lent (February/March)

Lent is a Christian holiday, and involves six weeks of penitence commemorating the forty days and nights Jesus is said to have spent fasting in the desert. Many, but not all, denominations of Christianity observe Lent. Observance of Lent may look different; some individuals may choose to give up one thing that they feel tempted by as a form of fasting, while others may follow more expansive fasting practices on certain days or throughout Lent. Christians may also engage in reflection, charity and service work, and prayer. Those observing Lent do not typically abstain from work or school, but may have lower energy than usual due to fasting. 

  • For those close to you who are observing Lent, become familiar with what their specific needs may be during the period, and respect whatever form their fast or observance takes.
  • Take special note on the holy days of Lent, including Lenten Sundays, Holy Wednesday (the last Wednesday of Lent), Maundy Thursday (the last Thursday of Lent), and Good Friday (the final day of Lent, commemorating Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and burial). 

2024: February 14 to March 28
2025: March 5 to April 17

Purim (March)

Purim is a Jewish holiday marked by joy, and celebrates the rescue of Jewish people from annihilation by Haman, an official of the Achaemenid Empire. Many Jewish communities will host festive readings of the Purim story, complete with costumes, noisemakers, giving of gifts, and plenty of food. Most Jewish individuals do not abstain from work or school on Purim, but may have evening festivities planned.

  • You can wish a friend “Chag Purim sameach” (“Happy Purim”) on this day. 

2024: Sundown on March 23 to sundown on March 24
2025: Sundown on March 13 to sundown on March 14

Ramadan (March/April)

Ramadan is the holiest month of the year for Muslim communities; it commemorates the revelation of the Quran and is marked by a variety of religious obligations and recommendations. Many Muslims will fast, abstaining from all food and drink from sunup to sundown–which means they may be up very early to eat a meal before the sun rises, and often will eat a large meal (called “iftar”) after the end of the fast each day. Ramadan is a period of reflection, prayer (many will pray five times per day), reading Quran, and self-improvement. Those observing Ramadan do not typically abstain from work or school during most of Ramadan, but they may have lower energy than usual due to fasting, and may be less available later in the day due to breaking the fast.

  • You can wish someone “Ramadan Mubarak” (“Happy Ramadan”) during this period, or wish someone a meaningful fast. 
  • Though you should not feel the need to abstain from serving food at events and activities, consider not centering all events during the month of Ramadan about food to ensure equitable participation, or host dinners after sundown as iftar for fasting folks. 
  • There are a few reasons why those who might be fasting might pause or stop their fast in the middle of Ramadan, including illness or menstruation. Refrain from commenting on others’ fasting or lack thereof. 
  • Be attuned to the needs of your friends and colleagues who may be fasting, and empower those around you to advocate for what they may need in terms of support. 
  • Take special note on Laylat al-Qadr (ten days before the end of Ramadan) and Eid al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan), where folks may have more religious and family obligations. 

2024: Sundown on March 10 to sundown on April 9

2025: Sundown on February 28 to sundown on March 30 

Good Friday (March/April)

Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus, and in many denominations of Christianity marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the Easter Triduum (a three-day period observed Friday through Sunday, recalling the Passion, Crucifixion, Death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus). In most denominations that observe it, Good Friday is observed with fasting and religious services, often longer and more somber than is typical. 

  • Some Christians who observe Good Friday will abstain from work or school to attend services; be conscious of scheduling on this day. 

2024: March 29
2025: April 18

Easter Sunday (March/April)

Easter Sunday, usually called Easter in the United States, marks the end of the Easter Triduum and is a Christian holiday marking the resurrection of Jesus. Easter is a joyous celebration, and is often observed by religious services, communal meals, and celebrations of spring and rebirth. While eggs have become a generic depiction of Easter in the United States, they also hold significance to many Christian observers as they are associated with new life and the empty tomb.

  • You can wish someone a “Happy Easter” on this day. 
  • While Easter always occurs on a Sunday, be aware that individuals may be traveling for Easter and may be generally less available on Monday as well. 

2024: March 31 or May 5 (Orthodox)
2025: April 20 (both Orthodox and non-Orthodox)

Laylat al-Qadr (March/April)

Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Power) occurs ten days before the end of Ramadan, and is observed by many Muslims as a commemoration of the day when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to Muhammad. Some individuals may stay up all night until dawn to pray and attend religious services. Prayers and worship on Laylat al-Qadr are considered to be particularly important and holy. 

  • Be conscious of specific needs of Muslims observing Ramadan during and after Laylat al-Qadr, which is particularly demanding, such as adaptive scheduling. 

2024: April 5
2025: March 27

Eid al-Fitr (March/April)

The end of Ramadan is marked with a joyous celebration called Eid al-Fitr, which lasts one to two days and signifies the end of the period of fasting. Though most Muslims will not abstain from work or school during Ramadan, they often will during Eid since it is a time of particular religious celebration and family gathering. Many Muslims may travel to reunite with family for Eid. Celebrations include giving zakat (donations to those less fortunate), communal Eid prayers, decorations, and ample food to share. Eid can also be a time to seek forgiveness from, or give forgiveness to, others in your community.

  • You can wish someone “Eid Mubarak” (“Happy Eid” or “Blessed Eid”) during these days.
  • Understand that Eid dates may differ slightly depending on someone’s branch of Islam; become familiar with what days the folks you know may be celebrating. 

2024: Sundown on April 10 to sundown on April 12
2025: Sundown on March 31 to sundown on April 2

Passover (April)

Passover is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the exodus of Jewish community from Egypt. Passover is celebrated for either seven or eight nights depending on branch of Judaism, and is marked by celebratory dinners (seders) where the story of Passover is told in the company of friends and families. Observance of Passover varies; some may only attend one or two seders at the beginning of Passover, and some may have seders every night. Some Jewish individuals will not take off time from work or school, but many will abstain from work or school on the first two and last two nights of Passover. Because there are various Passover-specific rules regarding food preparation and households, still others may take the whole Passover period off to see family and observe the holiday. Folks who keep kosher will have different restrictions for the duration of Passover and only consume things considered “kosher for Passover.” Many will not eat leavened bread in commemoration of the Jewish community not having time to let their bread rise before departing Egypt. 

  • You can wish a friend “Chag Pesach sameach” (“Happy Passover”) during Passover.
  • If you are serving food or drinks during an event during Passover, consider having unleavened breads (matzoh or others) available, and looking for options marked “Kosher for Passover.” 

2024: Sundown on April 22 to sundown on April 30
2025: Sundown on April 12 to sundown on April 20

Ridván (April/May)

Ridván is a twelve-day Bahá’i festival, commemorating the declaration by Baháu’lláh that he was a manifestation of God, and the entrance to and departure from the garden Najibiyyih. It is considered the holiest festival and holiday of the Bahá’i faith. The festival involves a variety of communal religious observance, meals, and outdoor celebration. The first, ninth, and twelfth days of Ridván are considered the Holy Days of Bahá’i, and observers will abstain from work or school on those days.

Take special note of the first, ninth, and twelfth days of Ridván when folks may have more religious obligations.

Ridván starts each year on April 20 or 21 and ends on May 2 or 3 depending on the March Equinox. 

Beltane (May)

Beltane is the spring festival in many Pagan religions (originating in Ireland with the Gaelic tradition), celebrating spring and hoping for a fruitful harvest season. Beltane festivals may include bonfires, decorating homes and public spaces with flowers, making offerings or performing rituals to encourage fertility and abundance of the land, and performances of art, music, and dance. 

  • You can wish someone a “Happy Beltane” or say “Beltane Blessings” on this day. 

Beltane is always celebrated on May 1.