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Jun 11 2014

How Do We Protect Children From School Shootings? Bulletproof Blankets, Apparently

By at 3:20 pm

bulletproof-blankets

It’s safe to say that security blankets have taken on a new meaning. Meet the Bodyguard Blanket, the latest bulletproof product on the market to protect children in schools from increasingly tragic events like school shootings and natural disasters.

Created by Oklahoma company ProTecht, the $1000 bulletproof blanket is designed to withstand being punctured by debris falling at 200 mph and protects against “90% of all weapons that have been used in school shootings in the United States.”

Gun-control lobby groups say there were at least 44 school shootings in the U.S. between December 2012 and February 10th, 2014—that’s an average of about three per month. Read the rest of this entry →

May 5 2014

The Blessing for Milestones Also Helps When Things Go Wrong

By at 4:10 pm

blessing

My daughter decided to learn how to ride a bike on Sunday.

Strange wording. Not “my daughter learned to ride a bike” but “my daughter decided to learn how to ride a bike.” Because that is precisely what Lilly does; she makes a decision and then does it.

And when she brought me outside to see her newest accomplishment, I said, “Remember what we do when we do something for the first time?” Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 20 2014

Why Did NYC’s Top Public High School Admit Only Seven Black Students This Year?

By at 10:24 am

Stuyhssouth

The Ides of March in New York City bring high school placement results for thousands of 8th graders. This year, Stuyvesant, the city’s most selective public high school, accepted only seven African-American students out of a class of 952. Last year, that number was nine.

Had they counted my son, they could have gone into the double digits, but they didn’t that year because he was coming from a private school, and they won’t be counting him as attending this year because he checked both the Black and White boxes on his forms, and the public school system just can’t deal with that kind of ambiguity and so chooses not to slot him at all. (I only mention this because it’s very possible similar scenarios exist in the 2014 incoming class. It also doesn’t mean that all seven will choose to attend. I know of three African-American kids who turned down Stuyvesant for scholarships at private schools.)

In any case, however, the number is ridiculously low for a school system that’s majority Black and Hispanic. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 28 2013

Will My Son Be the Only Black Jew in High School?

By at 10:59 am

alina adams will my son be the only black jew in high schoolEvery year, just like clockwork, The New York Times writes their annual article expressing shock that the most competitive public high schools in New York City are primarily Asian, with a much lower proportion of black and Hispanic students then there are in the overall system.

They charge that the test is racist and should not be used as the sole criteria determining admittance into a New York City Specialized High School. (I am not going to get into the politics of that charge, except to note that the argument to use other, less standardized factors such as letters of recommendation and extracurricular activities was initially introduced in America specifically to keep Jews out of elite universities, for fear that there would otherwise be too many of them. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 23 2013

In Israel, Baseball is Too Babyish to Play

By at 2:05 pm

baseball mitt and baseballMy kids need little organized effort to enjoy our company. In our house, especially in spring, that often means tossing balls with Abba. My two youngest will ask Dov if he has time to play catch with them, and if his schedule isn’t on overload, he will say yes. Nothing could please them more.

There will be a rush to gather mitts, ball, and caps. You can hear the buzz in their voices, and the rushed breathing of boys as they put on their sneakers. I glance outside the window from my workstation, and watch them wait at the curb for their Abba to pick them up, looking down at the ground, shuffling their feet, kicking stones with their toes, with only an occasional hopeful glance upward, just being boys. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 18 2013

Letting Go Before the Nest is Empty

By at 5:01 pm

closed bedroom doorIt’s only 8 at night, and when our 16-year-old son rambles home, we pounce. “Want to grab ice cream?” I invite. “What about a movie?” says my husband. Our son stares at us, impassive.

“I’m going to bed,” he says, and my husband and I exchange glances. We know that “going to bed” is code word for I’m-going-into-my-room-and-shutting-the-door-and-staying-up-for-hours-without-you. I hear the door close and even though my son is right upstairs, I miss him. And I know that he’s going off to college in two years and I’m going to miss him even more. 

I don’t know why I’m so surprised he’s independent. We wanted him to be that way. My parents had raised my sister and me to be dependent on them, to stay close to home, to reveal all our secrets. I, of course, balked and flew out on my own at 17, lived states away, and kept my thoughts locked up like a safe. Even now, my mom still scolds me for being “too independent for my own good” but I always considered that a plus.

Until I had a son. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 22 2012

Can We Afford Jewish High School?

By at 2:57 pm

high schoolI am a yeshiva educated NYC girl. I was raised in Brooklyn and grew up Orthodox. Jewish liturgy has been ingrained in me since the ripe old age of 3 when my parents first enrolled me in a formal educational setting.

Yet somehow–even during those rebellious teen years when I left the confines of my comfortable yeshiva high school for the mean and unexplored streets of public high school–I knew that someday I’d feel compelled to give my kids the same basic Jewish foundation I got as a child. And not one that would entail Hebrew school two hours a week, but one that would fully immerse them in the traditions of their ancestors, that would provide them with a real ability to read, write and speak the language of their forefathers and to understand why we Jewish people have continued to carry on these traditions since the beginning of time. I felt that inherent understanding of their natural born identity could never truly be passed onto them in any other conceivable way. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 17 2012

I Send My Jewish Son to Catholic School

By at 10:05 am
baseball kid

My son Nicky at bat.

My son Nicky loves baseball. He’s really, really good at it.

Despite the looooong list of Jews who made it big in baseball, we were shocked to learn our town was not overflowing with Jewish schools that have viable baseball programs. My husband’s old Catholic school, however, (“The Hall”) has a very well-respected baseball program. So does another Catholic school nearer to us (“The Mount”). Mark Teixeira is a hometown boy who went to The Mount. We forgive his playing for the Yankees. Read the rest of this entry →

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