I have been raised in an observant conservative Jewish household, and I frequently wrestle with daily prayer, which is very familiar to me. Therefore, I can readily see how a less observant student, without a regular relationship to a prayer experience outside of school, could find services onerous when thrust upon them in school.
In Iowa one week before the Presidential caucuses, we were far from the only group discussing politics that blustery night. From Sioux City to Davenport and everywhere in between, we Iowans have been bombarded with political billboards flanking our daily commute and dozens of ads in our physical and virtual mailboxes on any given day.
Rather than attempting to learn about all of the various holidays one might encounter, I recommend instead cultivating practices and postures that will allow us to encounter and navigate difference openly, gracefully and with a spirit of positive intention. I've gathered five practices that are helpful for navigating holidays and cultural difference.