I cannot understand the depth of the hate that is going on in our world. As a Jewish mother, I have been researching the different Hebrew day schools in the city. I would love for my kids to have the opportunity to have a Jewish school education. We are not a religious family and don’t have any active family in our lives to pass down Jewish beliefs or to teach our kids about Jewish life. Attending a Jewish school would give them the foundation and the information to learn about what it means to be a Jewish child. It would teach them about holidays and traditions and some Hebrew language. They would be part of a supportive community.
I can’t believe we live in a world where I have to contemplate whether sending my kids to a public school is safe yet alone a religious school. I don’t feel comfortable with the idea but I should. In my particular case, I am speaking about a Jewish day school but I know my feelings are mirrored by parents of other religious backgrounds. This includes any parent sending their kids to religious schools or institution that could mark someone as a target. With the reminder of the massacre that just happened in a synagogue in Pittsburgh yesterday, where innocent people gathered together to pray and celebrate a baby boy’s birth at his bris, to be murdered by a cowardly hateful man.
It seems like anti-semitism and all hate is on the rise. Graffiti of hateful words and swastikas are being posted in predominately Jewish neighborhoods and in school parks. Jewish cemeteries are vandalized regularly. Our children are being shown hate from such young ages. I hope this doesn’t become the new normal. I cannot accept this. With the rise in anxiety and fear through our country, what kind of legacy are we leaving our children? If I send my kids to a Jewish day school, am I making them a target of hate? Will I feel worried with my stomach in knots every day when I drop them off? Do I allow these terrorists to stop me from following and pursuing the right to pick my children’s education? Picking a school shouldn’t be so terrifying.
Yes, the schools that I interviewed are for only Jewish children but I asked lots of questions. I asked how my kids will learn that being Caucasian and Jewish is not the only demographic in our world and how they will they be exposed to diversity outside of their school environment. It is important for my kids to learn about love and equality. They assured me and gave work examples of how they teach acceptance and awareness of other religions and about other cultures.
We live in a city that is so multi-cultural – it’s beautiful. My kids attend out of school/daycare activities, camps, and programs in the community where I encourage exposure to as many different backgrounds and cultures as possible. Kids are not born to hate; hate is learned. We as parents and educators need to step up and stand together to teach our children to embrace their differences or this will get a lot worse. I fear for our grandchildren and what life will look like if we don’t take more responsibility, enact harsher laws and stiffer penalties for hate crimes. But most of all we need to talk and role model to our children every day and teach them acceptance. I want to make the decision of which school my kids will go to – made by me, not made for me.