Educating our children is a collaborative journey. When deciding on the right education, I knew I wanted them to be in a private school. But a Jewish Day School? No way!
A Jewish Day School was never what I envisioned, or so I thought. My mother always wanted my children to go to the Brandeis School, a Jewish private day school located in Nassau County, so I half heartedly made an appointment to visit the school when my daughter was entering kindergarten. She is the eldest of three children who are all now 8, 5, and 3. I was raised in a conservative home, going to shul every Saturday morning and attending Hebrew school all the way through high school (although I often cut out to go shopping).
All the years of Hebrew School and Hebrew High School were wasted on me.
It was only when my kids began Brandeis that my entire world was opened to a new understanding and appreciation of what Judaism is all about. I began to have faith in G-d, who I now believe takes care of all of us in ways we cannot begin to understand. I had no idea how involved I would be in my children's school until Ava had started her first year. Not only was she being exposed to all that our religion has to offer, but I was too.
After meeting our school's Rabbi and talking to him I felt almost compelled to become active in all things Chessed, and loved having the opportunity to share these experiences alongside my children. Not only do the kids like having me in the school, but I have learned so much from them! We made Purim baskets for the elderly and every day we deliver trays of food from our lunch program to neighboring children's centers and soup kitchens. In addition, we made baskets filled with non-perishable food and attached cards that the children made with messages of hope, which fully stocked the local food pantry. We have done so many things as a family, as a school, all together to help our community.
People always ask how do you afford it? I don't work. My husband works for the NYC Department of Education during the day, and teaches at a yeshiva in the early evenings. We make a conscious decision on what we spend our money on. Needs vs. wants became quite clear after the first year my eldest daughter ended kindergarten at Brandeis. A Jewish education wins out every time. Superficial spending was cut down to a minimum. We have everything we need.
We all come from diverse communities but share one common thread, our desire to keep our Jewish heritage alive and instilling confidence and moral character in our children. I see my children developing a social consciousness that I know will only strengthen with time. I am excited to take the journey with them. I credit The Brandeis School for showing us the way.