Bags all packed and ready to go…

And so this is it, my final post on the local day school crisis.

There’s a week left of school, summer is here (you can tell by the torrential rain every afternoon), and the kids (and I) are all done with homework and ready to relax for a while.

I have one last thing to say to HDS and to all the Jewish day schools.

When people fall upon hard times, treat each family as an individual case. Meet with them face to face. Talk to them and try, really make an effort, to listen to what they are telling you. Pick up the phone and call them. It only takes a few minutes to call someone, and let them know that you have noticed that they haven’t re-enrolled their child(ren), or that they are asking for financial help for the first time.

Don’t concern yourselves with children like mine. The Brooks’ kids will be alright. They are lucky to be in a stable family environment, with parents who both grew up frum, and who both continue to be frum. Judaism will never be on the back burner in our children’s lives.

But please, I ask of you, consider this:

Children from certain families NEED to be in a Jewish education system more than others, to remain within the fold.
So every time children leave the school for financial reasons, look closer, meet the parents, listen to them. Are those children at risk of losing their Judaism? What will it take to keep them at your school? Is there any way at all to make it work for them? Is it better to shrug and say “sorry to see you go” but not make the effort, or is it better to do whatever necessary to keep those children in the system?Just think, you might save a Jewish neshama of this generation, and help guarantee the neshamas of the next generation…

To everyone else, thanks for following along. If your children are in the same grades as mine, please don’t forget about them when they are in their new school. It will mean the world to them if you remember them for playdates and birthday parties.

To all the amazing teachers my children have had at Hillel Day School, thank you, from the bottom of my heart . You have all, without exception, contributed to the little people that they are, to the depths of knowledge they have acquired, and to their Jewish selves. I will miss all of your smiling faces each morning and afternoon, and I hope that you will all miss my kids and their very inquiring minds.

And just because I’m going to miss driving around it every school day next year, a quick reminder about the roundabout (Traffic Circle) – TRAFFIC ON THE CIRCLE HAS THE RIGHT OF WAY!!!!

Shabbat Shalom & have a great summer!


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rabbi New
    Jul 21, 2012 @ 22:07:08

    I read your piece in the Jewish Press and would like to offer you a solution.
    You can reach me at 561 245 1579
    thanks, Rabbi Ruvi New


  2. Abba's Rantings
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 19:34:07

    “Don’t concern yourselves with children like mine. The Brooks’ kids will be alright . . . [but] Children from certain families NEED to be in a Jewish education system more than others, to remain within the fold.”

    what makes you so sure that *your* children will be all right and aren’t the ones that need to be in yeshiva? you think *your* family really has what it takes to provide for their jewish education outside of a yeshiva? i don’t write this to attack or criticize you–i don’t even know anything about you–but rather as a friendly warning. two years after having pulled my son from yeshiva i have been greatly humbled from the responsibility of the jewish education that has been thrust on me. i’m not saying it can’t be done outside the yeshiva, but you had better disabuse yourself of the notion that it is going to be easy. overall i’m satisfied with where my son is jewish-wise right now, but it takes a lot of work. good luck!


    • vanessabrooksceo
      Aug 13, 2012 @ 19:57:57

      Well I never claimed it would be easy!
      My husband and I are both frum our whole lives. I did not have the benefit of a yeshiva education, simply because it wasn’t available where I grew up. However, my parents’ priority was always our frumkeit, in everything they did, and every way they raised their children. Observance was never optional, it was mandatory. My parents were (and still are) my elders, not my friend (ok, so I get along very well with them today, but growing up I would never have thought of them as allies, whereas many parents today treat their kids as peers.).
      The results of my parents’ hard work are four out of four orthodox children.
      It is achievable, and I won’t say I never worry about the religious future of my kids, but when I do, it has little to do with them being out of day school, and more about where they will go to college…


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