I’m just speculating here, but I bet one of the things parents think about a lot is: What do I want my child to know?
Most of us probably want our kids to know how to read and write, to have good math and analytical skills, to have a basic knowledge of geography and history. But what do we want to tell kids about things like death, sex and scary big ideas like terrorism, war, and natural disasters? And how do we want to frame Judaism for our kids? Do we want them to grow up knowing their way around the Bible, the Siddur, and the Mishnah? Do we want our kids to speak Hebrew, and/or understand Aramaic? What do we want to tell our children about Israel and its bloody history? What about things we don’t know about ourselves?
In our new article, Seize the Day School, Ken Gordon talks about the oys and joys of sending his daughter to Jewish day school, and watching her learn all kinds of things he never could have taught her himself.
Ken is mostly writing about giving his daughter a much more comprehensive Jewish education than he ever got, but some of us might also be thinking about how much less of a Jewish education we can get away with giving our kids (both educationally and financially). I went to an Orthodox Jewish high school, and I know my parents wish they had been able to send me some place that was significantly less dogmatic. And I have friends who left the Hasidic world and now wonder what they want their kids knowing about the life they turned their backs on.
I would say the grass is always greener, but in this case I think it’s more along the lines of, ‘The Jew is always Jewier’ or something like that.
Pronounced: khah-SID-ik, Origin: Hebrew, a stream within ultra-Orthodox Judaism that grew out of an 18th-century mystical revival movement.