Ex-SEPTA Worker: I Was Fired For Observing Jewish Holy Days

The fired worker is a member of the Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ — the religious group with members who rant on Center City corners.

A former SEPTA custodian says he was fired for observing the Jewish high holy days. Romel McAlpin, who was hired in May of 2013, will have a one-day hearing before an arbitrator sometime in the future.

McAlpin is a member of the Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ. Although not considered by mainstream Jews to be Jewish, the group observes some Jewish holidays.

Yes, you may have already guessed this: That is the religious group that has members who rant at passersby on Market Street outside the Convention Center, at the Clothespin and outside Liberty Place. (“The Southern Poverty Law Center rates the Black Israelites, aka the Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ, as a hate group — though not one significant enough to get its own entry,” City Paper’s Emily Guendelsberger noted earlier this year.)

SEPTA told McAlpin he could only swap shifts with a less senior employee due to union regulations, while McAlpin’s attorney says he should have been able to trade shifts with any employee. He was fired after missing work for Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat on October 12th of last year.