A Grandparent Reminisces about Being a Jewish Day School Parent

a speech by Akiba-Schechter Grandparent Janet Resnick, delivered at our recent Grandparents & Special Friends Day, October 17, 2019

Janet Resnick with grandson Stuart in the 1st/2nd grade classroom during
our recent Grandparents & Special Friends Day

I must say that when Eliezer first asked me to speak today, I thought of the iconic scene from My Cousin Vinny when Marissa Tomei testifies that all of her relatives are mechanics. So in that vein, if you ask me, "Janet, were you a Day School kid?" my answer would be "No, but my husband was a day school kid, my three children were day school kids, and - I am proud to say - two of my grandchildren are day school kids.

Looking back, I often think about what I liked about being a day school parent. Obviously I liked knowing my children were getting a Jewish education and an equally strong secular education. But what I remember most is the friendships formed. Yes, my children have life-long friends they made in school. But I'm talking about my own social circle. Being a parent at Solomon Schechter made me part of a community. And years after my children graduated, these parents are still the ones I call my friends - the ones who share in my joy and lighten my sorrows.

Many of these friendships started in carpool. And just as I drove day school carpool for my children, I now drive the Thursday afternoon Goodman family shuttle. On days when traffic allows me to get here a bit early, I sneak into the preschool classes and watch Emily, Angela, Arun, Iris, Jamie, and Amanda at work, guiding first Stuart and now Meira.

As their Bauba, Stuart (2nd grade) and Meira (Kindergarten) are among my Nachas makers. But like all children, they have phases where they need various guidance, love, and discipline. At each step of the way, the teachers provide just the right support for their ages and stages. As you know, the Akiba preschool staff is truly remarkable. 

The “spying” is a little harder on the grade school side - but I can say without a doubt that Stuart loves coming to school, learns a lot, and is proud to be here. And when my daughter shares feedback from Mr. Salk and Morah Schinasi, it is clear that they know exactly who he is. Stuart is not a hand-made-kippah-wearing head in the crowd; he is challenged and supported every day. 

All of this makes the community at Akiba-Schechter special. And I haven’t even addressed the “day school” part. Our holiday and Shabbat dinners are filled with songs and stories that let me know the Jewish identity is alive and well in my family’s next generation. L’dor v’dor, from generation to generation, my family’s relationships with our traditions, the Jewish People, and the State of Israel are strong. 

Whether today is your first day visiting Akiba or you’re on weekly pick-up duty, I hope you’ll join me in thanking the amazing teachers and staff at Akiba-Schechter, who hold space for all of our grandchildren, helping them become the best versions of themselves.

Comments

  1. I loved reading this! I think it is so wonderful that you made such good friends yourself through your kids' school experience.

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