New York, NY – Today marks the first day of Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday that commemorates the rededication of the Temple by the Maccabees after its desecration by the Syrians. The festival, which lasts for eight nights, will end on Christmas Eve as the people celebrating Hanukkah will take down their menorahs and those who celebrate Christmas will be getting ready to unwrap presents.
Most business will be closed on Christmas, even ones like Target and Walmart, but some companies must keep their doors open to hold onto international clients. Around this time every year, the bosses of these companies must do the impossible: somehow asks the Jewish employees if they can work on Christmas, without targeting them specifically for compliance reasons. For Rick Hamilton, a CEO of one of the finer stock exchange firms in Chicago, his time came today.
From the moment Hamilton woke up this morning, he was trying out different ways to approach his Jewish employee, Zach Weinstein. While showering, he practiced; while driving to work, he practiced; on the elevator, he practiced; and all the way throughout the day, he practiced. Around 5:00, the CEO made his way over to Weinstein’s cubicle to ask him. He started a casual conversation with his employee, although Zach knew what the whole point of the conversation was. Before Hamilton could even spit out the question, Weinstein told him he would work on Christmas.
“There’s a lot of tough parts that come with my job here,” Hamilton told us. “I handle a lot of money and any day, anything can happen. However, the hardest part of my job is definitely trying to appropriately ask my one Jewish employee if he doesn’t mind holding down the office on Christmas day.”