web analytics
September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
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.



Building On Sand

Scheiner-082313

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.

We had been in Canada for a number of years when we moved back to the United States. It was not because we disliked the country or the warm Jewish community we had become a part of. We enjoyed the beauty of our city, the clean streets, zero graffiti, and the nice manners of the Canadians. We had become accustomed to hearing “Oh Canada” and the expression ‘South of the Border,’ which alludes to the United States, not Mexico.

However, as time went on it became too difficult to live so far from our families. Our parents could visit us but once a year. The arduous procedure of going through customs put a damper on visits, as did the pricey airline tickets.

When we moved back to the United States, it was to a larger Jewish community – one that was full of wonderful families and several Orthodox shuls. In this town there were shiurim and many frum families. Finally, my kids had a huge selection of friends. There were bnei Torah from whom we could learn. We could get our kosher food with ease – we could even eat out! But the teaching position my husband had soon turned sour.

At first, it was a honeymoon, and the principal was pleasant – but the relaxed atmosphere did not last long. The principal requested that my husband meet with him on a regular basis and urged him to adopt different teaching methods then he had been using.

My husband nodded, not really sure how to apply the rigid directives. He smiled, but the sinking feeling began. His teaching methods were very successful; how could he stop using methods that were tried and true – including his different review games, which often involved throwing a ball?

My husband plodded on, sensing the principal’s dismay each time he asked to meet with him. Soon, the meetings with the principal stopped. And it was no surprise when a few months later we were notifed that my husband would not be welcomed back to the school.

“I just want to understand something,” my husband said to the principal. “You saw how I taught during my model lesson. I did not hide my methods. Why did you hire me if you didn’t like the way I taught?

“I remember your model lesson,” the principal answered, “but I wanted to make you into a master teacher.”

Who could forget Tisha B’Av of that year? All of our belongings had been loaded on the moving truck the day before and we were left with very little in the house. After sitting on the floor, my husband got up after midday, and said we ought to leave. We loaded our station wagon, tying whatever did not fit to the top of the car. On the saddest day of the year, we left the city.

A few moments after we turned on to the highway, our kids saw UFOs flying about. Those unidentified flying objects turned out to be our stuff flying off the car. As we hadn’t done laundry all of the Nine Days, it was now scattered about both sides of the highway – along with other various items. We parked on the shoulder, while my husband and I tried to salvage whatever we could. I still can remember how heartbroken I was to see the bags of parve chocolate chips lying smashed on the highway.

For our family, it was another ordeal of unpacking and settling into a new address and area code. Once again, we had to learn where to shop for kosher food, and find a new pediatrician. Before long the school year began, and once more my husband was teaching students, as was I. We immediately felt welcomed and wanted here, and we could finally relax. My husband now worked for a principal who appreciated his approach to teaching, and encouraged him.

But now, the community we’ve invested over two decades of our lives to has shifted. I remember hearing a rabbi in one of our out-of-town communities explain before he made aliya with his family that he was leaving because, “In America, when you build, you build on sand”.

As out-of-towners, we know of other communities founded with high hopes of building Torah, but no longer exist today. In most of them the day school folded first and, within a short time, nothing Jewish remained.

It is a great struggle to enroll and keep Jewish students – especially those not affiliated with the Orthodox community. (Sadly, there are even shomer Shabbos children who may not graduate from day school!) Trying to recruit for day schools across the country is getting trickier and trickier. The economy has effected enrollment, but so has the lack of reverence for Judaism, which exists in a new generation of young parents who are barely traditional. Very few communities are immune to these trends.

Recently, there has been fear that the school’s lay leadership may attempt to change the tone of our day school. Some of the officers have even urged the Judaic Studies staff to not emphasize Torah when speaking to perspective parents.

As teachers, we watched from the sidelines while this development played out. We had to consider if this city, the one in which we raised our family, was still suitable for us. It has been a tough time here, over the rainbow. At present, it seems the school will continue in its current direction. Our fear of needing to move has receded, and now we will wait to see how things play out. We hope the New Year brings us stability, and continued success in teaching Torah to the remnants of our people. We hope that here we will not just be building on sand.

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.

No Responses to “Building On Sand”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A Muslim social media campaign against ISIS was begun by the British Active Change Foundation.
Muslims Tell ISIS: #NotInMyName [video]
Latest Sections Stories
Calmer Times. Breslov chassidim on erev Rosh Hashanah in 2012 at the grave of Rav Nachman in Uman.

As optimistic as Menachem Rosenberg is – and he said he is going to Uman – he’s sure that this year, most of the travelers will not tour other religious sites or places in Ukraine.

Three sets of three-day Yomim Tovim can seem overwhelming – especially when we are trying to stay healthy.

Plotkin-092614

Is a missed opportunity to do a mitzvah considered a sin?

Teens-Twenties-logo

The sounds and scents of the kitchen are cozy, familiar, but loud in the silence.

Everyone has a weakness. For some people it is the inability to walk past a sales rack without dropping a few hundred dollars. For others, it’s the inability to keep their house organized.

Not enjoying saying no, I often succumbed to requests viewing them as demands I couldn’t refuse.

His entire life was dedicated to Torah and he became a pivotal figure in the transmittal of the Oral Torah to the next generation.

When you don’t have anyone else to turn to… that’s when you’re tied to Hashem the closest.

While we all go to restaurants for a good meal, it is dessert, that final taste that lingers in your mouth, that is the crown jewel of any dining experience and Six Thirteen’s offerings did not disappoint.

Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.

There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.

In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.

This is an important one in raising a mentsch (and maybe even in marrying off a mentsch! listening skills are on the top of the list when I do shidduch coaching).

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/magazine/potpourri/building-on-sand/2013/08/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: