web analytics
October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



A Morah’s View from Out-of-town

Scheiner-033012

When you‘re here, over the rainbow, it is different. Being out-of-town is not about living in some neighborhood of Brooklyn (other than Boro Park, Williamsburg, or Flatbush). Living out-of-town also does not mean living in other parts of the Big Apple, like Manhattan or Queens. It doesn’t even mean living in the suburbs – like the Five Towns or Great Neck. Being here, over the rainbow, means living away. Now, don’t even think its like living in New Jersey, Los Angeles or Chicago. Try to imagine a very small community – one with less than 100 shomer Shabbos (Sabbath observant) families. A place that is miles from any kosher restaurant, where one can be served by eager-to-please waiters on real plates. It is a place devoid of kosher pizza shops where one can grab dinner on a Thursday night or even a small bagel shop to run into Sunday morning. And one cannot buy The Jewish Press at the local newsstand.

Which of course begs the question: Why would anyone choose to live out-of-town, particularly someone born and bred in New York City? The answer is not that complicated. The move was based on a dream. It wasn’t actually my dream, but it was my husband’s. He desperately wanted to move out-of-town to teach. He really wanted to make a difference somewhere else – to go to a community unfamiliar with Orthodox Jews, and to contribute to that place through the teaching of Torah in its (only) day school.

When the plan to move was announced, and sometime after I stopped crying, people quietly warned us of its perils. “Your children will become korbonos (sacrifices),” they whispered. “They will never find shidduchim (marital matches),” some mumbled under their breath. But most just shook their heads, wondering how we could possibly give it all up – the shiurim (Torah classes), the yeshivas, the schools, the friendships, and of course the restaurants. How could we sacrifice our proximity to the great ones: the Rabbonim (rabbis), the Rebbetzins (rabbi‘s wives/teachers), the ehrlicher Yidden (Jews of integrity and stellar character) that we had become so accustomed to seeing? Wasn’t it ridiculous to move to a place where it was impossible to find the latest sheitel (wig)? Though valiantly trying to be brave for my husband, I too wondered if this was not a ridiculous plan.

For a long time I could not “get comfortable” living out-of-town. I missed reading The Jewish Press, which I had enjoyed over Shabbos morning coffee. When I was out in the car, I kept looking for women in snoods, for others to join me as I frantically shopped erev Shabbos (Sabbath eve) or erev Yom Tov (before a Jewish holiday). I kept longing for my old life. It took me eleven years (this is not a typo) to enthusiastically join the forces of other klei kodesh (literally “holy vessels,” those in Jewish education) in out-of-town chinuch (education).

And a funny thing happened when I finally did adjust. My friends from New York no longer pitied me. In a way, I think they began to envy me. Though we do not have so many choices for our children – in friends, and in learning opportunities – we were spared from dealing with the deluge of issues that had begun to arise in the in-town Jewish community. The at-risk teenagers, the fear of kids appearing one way but believing another, the yearning for designer clothes and vacations, the academic pressure, those issues were now the unfortunate realities to which our friends’ kids were exposed. It is true that our kids are less able to compete on the Torah level of our friends’ children. Yet our children are confident as Jews and Yiddishkeit (Judaism) is not a burden to them. For us, the way of the world is not so foreign. Our kids attend day school and are always around some children who do not keep mitzvos (commandments). They are accustomed to seeing homes with varying levels of observance, too. It could be that being brought up out-of-town removed the novelty of the outside world.

But of course all children, in the end, have free choice. We cannot stop that from being true. As my husband wisely says, all children must eventually choose for themselves if they want a Torah life. The choice could be when they are teenagers, or it could be years later. No one can choose for their kids, though as parents, we wish very badly we could.

It’s been over twenty-five years of living over the rainbow and we’re still doing it. We are living and teaching in a small out-of-town community, while raising our family. There are times we question our sanity, and there are times we sigh in relief. It’s sometimes very hard and frustrating here, and other times it is pure joy and delight. But all these years later, one thing we do know: we are helping build Torah in a place where we make a big difference. And for that, we would not trade places with anyone anywhere else.

It is my hope in this series to give over to you some of the flavor of life for an Orthodox Jewish family living in small town America. The ebbs and flows, how we deal with the sacrifices and how much we treasure the simple pleasures in our daily lives.

And as for my missing The Jewish Press – no fears, my mother got me a subscription.

Penina Scheiner is a kindergarten teacher, writer, and busy wife and mom who lives over the rainbow with her husband and kids.

About the Author: Penina Scheiner is a kindergarten teacher, writer, and busy wife and mom who lives over the rainbow with her husband and kids.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “A Morah’s View from Out-of-town”

  1. Arielle Gorman says:

    Very well written article……….

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF soldiers are evacuated to a hospital after a terror attack.
Photo credit: Smiley Hafuch / Rotter.net
ISIS-Linked Terror Attack on IDF From Sinai
Latest Sections Stories

It is important for a therapist to focus on a person’s strengths as a way of overcoming his or her difficulties.

Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.

Social disabilities occur at many levels, but experts identify three different areas of learning and behavior that are most common for children who struggle to create lasting social connections.

Sukkot is an eternal time of joy, and if we are worthy, of plenty.

Two of our brothers, Jonathan Pollard and Alan Gross, sit in the pit of captivity. We have a mandate to see that they are freed.

Chabad of South Broward has 15 Chabad Houses in ten cities.

Victor Center works in partnership with healthcare professionals, clergy, and the community to sponsor education programs and college campus out reach.

So just in case you’re stuck in the house this Chol HaMoed – because there’s a new baby or because someone has a cold – not because of anything worse, here are six ideas for family fun at home.

We are told that someone who says that God’s mercy extends to a bird’s nest should be silenced.

More Articles from Penina Scheiner
Scheiner-010314

My first cell phone was given to me by a son who doesn’t live near us. He was tired of trying to reach me on our landline. He felt it was wrong for me not to be able to be accessible to my family, and I must admit that he was right.

Scheiner-101113-Bag

“What are the 3 best reasons to be a teacher? June, July and August!”

Sometimes, you see it coming and sometimes you don’t. You move into a community thinking, “We’ll stay here for a while,” and then things change, and your position in chinuch is not as certain as you had believed.

Chaos – that is how the world is described at its inception in the book of Beraishis (Genesis). Confusion. A lack of clarity and boundaries. Or, as I teach my kindergartners, “a mishmash”.

Some of us climb a scale each day in terror and dread. Some of us alight a scale, with our hearts thumping and throats tightening. We may know how to jump off and on, or gyrate this way or that to create a different number. And we will stare at that all important number – which could very well dictate our mood for the rest of the day. We believe the final number to be the true judge of our worth – of how well we are doing. And we are sorry that the scale could not be fooled.

I just finished trying on all my pre-nine day clothes. You know the drill: Wash your clothing but leave enough time to parade around in what will be worn for the next nine days. This way, it will not be freshly laundered. What amazes me is that each year I am sure it will be a very easy activity, since I have nothing to wear! Yet, somehow I find it very time-consuming.

Tina was in my kindergarten class last year. Each day Tina’s hair flew all around her. It would tumble into her eyes and she would bat at it periodically throughout the day just to see. Sometimes I’d use whatever hair accessory I had at hand – even just a rubber band – to put Tina’s hair out of her face.

When you‘re here, over the rainbow, it is different. Being out-of-town is not about living in some neighborhood of Brooklyn (other than Boro Park, Williamsburg, or Flatbush). Living out-of-town also does not mean living in other parts of the Big Apple, like Manhattan or Queens. It doesn’t even mean living in the suburbs – like the Five Towns or Great Neck. Being here, over the rainbow, means living away.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/feautures-on-jewish-world/a-morahs-view-from-out-of-town/2012/03/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: