Feb 5 2013
I, the cool and interesting mama, have been demoted. By my kids.
Unnamed child, age 9, invited me to participate in Career Day at school. Then uninvited me because “Daddy works for Crayola and you just stay at home now. I don’t think the kids at school will find you very interesting.”
For those who don’t know, I was a pulpit rabbi for 12 years before off-ramping to stay at home full-time to do a better job of caring for our kids, one of whom has autism. A difficult decision at the time and many days since. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 9 2013
I’ve heard it said that you don’t know how good you’ve got something until it’s gone. This is a story about the opposite. How I didn’t know how lacking something was until I left.
As the Yiddish saying goes, change your location, change your luck.
When we picked up and moved more than three thousand miles away from our home in order for me to stay home full-time and be a better care giver to our son, who is on the autistic spectrum, I anticipated many positive changes. The most pleasant surprise, however, has been the school system. I now realize, with that ever-clear hindsight, that our old school system was lacking. Sorely lacking. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 14 2012
This year, when all of the kids our son’s age were entering pre-k, my husband and I made the final preparations on our plan to homeschool.
We looked into all of our options and decided that, while homeschooling is by far not the only good way to educate a child, it is how we have decided to educate ours.
I thought that my explanation would need to go no further. I assumed that most people would give the same response I give whenever a friend tells me their child is going to the local school, “That’s great!”
I was wrong. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 25 2012
I can still remember being 5 years old, sitting in the hallway outside my kindergarten classroom, while my buddy–an eighth grader–taught me the Ma Nishtana, the four questions for the Passover seder. Eight years later, and it was my turn to help a new kindergartner learn the tune and words to the same questions.
I’m a Schechter gal, through and through. From kindergarten through eighth grade, I attended Ezra Academy, a Solomon Schechter Jewish day school in the suburbs of New Haven, CT. Not only did I attend the school, but my mother was there long before I started, teaching a variety of grade levels before settling into her current position as the school’s computer instructor. The Jewish day school experience was an integral part of my childhood, and one that I truly look back upon fondly. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 22 2012
I 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 19 2012
It’s my son’s big bar mitzvah year… but Miles is a different kind of bar mitzvah boy.
Miles is a child with ADHD. You might be thinking, ahhh, another parent that says their child is ADHD. Why don’t we just add it to the list, right? That’s what we thought. We thought to ourselves it’s just a label. It’s a teacher telling us something is wrong with him just to label him because he’s wiggly, obstinate, and uncooperative at times. Well, you’re wrong. It’s real and it’s here and it’s a huge part of our life.
My husband and I were both brought up Jewish. We both went to Hebrew school. He, conservative. Me, reform. We always had the view that Miles would go to Sunday school and Hebrew school just like we did. Why wouldn’t he, right? Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 18 2012
The email read: You are cordially invited to your child’s kindergarten consecration ceremony.
“What’s that?” my non-Jewish husband asked, peering over my shoulder at the computer screen.
“Uhm…” I, his allegedly Jewish wife, replied, “I think that’s what Abraham did to Isaac on Mount Moriah.”
“How come they didn’t mention that in the Jewish day school brochure?”
“I need to do some research,” I said, followed by, “Good news! According to this link: Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 17 2012
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 →
Oct 15 2012
I recently sent my third child off to kindergarten. My only girl, my last baby, looking all grown up with her hair in a ponytail, wearing a backpack, clutching a lunch box. And I’ve got to admit, I’m feeling kind of… bored by the whole thing.
When my oldest went off to preschool for the first time, I read the handbook they gave us like it was The Holy Grail, terrified of making a mistake (oh, no, did I build the wrong kind of art smock?) and veering his entire educational future off-course for want of sewing ability. I attended every parent meeting and curriculum night. I volunteered for field-trips and saved his “report cards.” Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 11 2012
This afternoon I attended a concert of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The first two pieces on the program were Richard Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration and Don Juan, which both seemed fitting because I was thinking about the man I studied AP Music History with my senior year of high school, Johannes Somary. I was, and am, not a particularly musical person, but I needed a year of an arts requirement to graduate and decided instead of taking a semester of ceramics or drawing, I would do something year long and serious with a trusted faculty member whose course was supposed to be the best of what the school had to offer. I’d hoped it would open new worlds to me, to appreciate and understand music. Obviously, that I am still attending concerts and appreciating music shows Mr. Somary’s lasting impact. Read the rest of this entry →