Resurrection of Friday blog posts

Starting with something simple.

The decision has been made and is public. Our children will not be returning to Hillel in the fall. They will all be attending the Ben Gamla Charter School in Plantation.

The reactions to this news have been incredibly diverse. Some people were truly shocked. Others expressed envy that we will be saving money. Still others made insensitive remarks about it being hard on the kids, terrible for their Judaism etc.

If anyone believes that this was a decision that has been made lightly, or without considerable pain, you’re just wrong. If anyone truly thinks that our lives are going to radically change to the point where we will be jetting off to London and Dublin for every vacation, then you have no idea where we are actually coming from.

Our children love learning Torah. The move from Hillel to Ben Gamla will not infringe on their limudei kodesh. We will ensure that they will continue learning during the week, plus on Shabbat and Sunday. We are committed to their continued learning, and so are they. We believe strongly that sending children to a Jewish Day School does not guarantee a religious outcome. We also believe that it is pointless to send children to a religious school if that religion is not practiced at home in the same manner which it is taught at school. By moving our children to a non-Day School environment, we do not believe that we are taking them away from orthodox Judaism. Our home continues to be orthodox. We continue to keep kosher both at home and out. We continue to keep Shabbat both at home and when away from home. We continue to ingrain in our children the importance of the Hebrew calendar over the Gregorian one when planning our lives. We continue to lead a life that is ruled by our faith first.

Our children comprehend that this move is necessary in order for us to continue to live here. They understand that they will still see their current school friends on Shabbat, chag and during shared vacation times. They also realize that it will require some extra effort to maintain some of these friendships, whereas others will remain steadfast without too much work, and some will simply fade away.

I don’t really feel it necessary to defend our decision. I would love to say that it is a relief to know that we will no longer be judged for being at a Day School, when clearly we cannot afford it. I would love to think that people no longer scrutinize every penny that we publicly spend. However, I am not naïve enough to believe that this will be the case. We will be judged for taking our children out of Day School. We will be judged for choosing to get out of debt rather than keep them in a Jewish School. We will be judged for many other reasons. So be it. I am happy to know that we can no longer be considered a burden on fully paying families at the school.

I will reiterate what I have always said about Hillel. We are very happy with the education our children have gotten there. Both religious and secular. Their teachers have all been wonderful and we will miss every single one of them. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for giving our children such a wonderful start to their education.

Shabbat Shalom

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