Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

School Mid-Winter Broken

My sons started their mid-winter break from high school today; it runs through the end of next week. They will be spending most of it hanging out at home, probably mainly in front of the TV, computer, or Nintendo. Partly this is because Debbie and I can't take so many days off right now. But even a minimal family vacation during this period is also impossible, because my daughter's school has its mid-winter break at a completely different time, several weeks from now. In fact, my kids haven't all been off at the same time in the winter since Aaron started high school in 2001.

Though I've had to deal with this for years, it is really ticking me off today. Why is it that the BJE-schedule ("centrist") and the Lakewood-schedule ("frum") yeshivas in this state are so polarized that they can't even come together on a frikken winter vacation date? Specifically, since the BJE schools always establish their schedule much earlier, why can't the Lakewood schools just line up with them?

It's not as if the BJE schools were scheduling their break over the Christmas - New Years week, like Jewish day schools used to do when I was a kid (we had a Judaic-studies half day on Christmas itself to make a "statement", and then winter vacation until after New Years). I can understand the hashkafic argument against doing that, though it also inconveniences parents to some degree. But this situation is just lihachis [out of spite] with no good reason whatsoever.

Though I can think of a bad reason. The "frum" schools dafka don't want their kids chas v'shalom fraternizing with the kids from the "modern" schools over vacation.

I would never want to suspect fellow religious Jews of such disgusting attitudes and behavior, but I have heard from friends in the same situation, that they were told this in so many words when they asked administrators in one of the Lakewood-schedule schools.

And people wonder why the Moshiach hasn't come yet. Disgraceful.


At 1/19/06, 5:33 PM, Anonymous Chana said...

Personally, I think they should just give vacation over Christmas. If you have siblings in college, or your parents work, this is the only time you can all be together. Otherwise, siblings come in from out of town and can't even spend time with their own family members.

This year was the most entertaining, since Chanuka and Christmas were at the same time. Since I attend a non-sectarian independant school, I obviously had vacation, and so did my siblings (who attend a Modern Orthodox school.) A certain Yeshiva here had vacation, ostensibly for "Chanukah" but my peers at my former school (Templars) don't have vacation till right about now (after their midterms) as well as my friend in New York.

Oh, well.

As for "not fraternizing with the enemy"- there are too many people who actually admit this, which makes it even worse...

At 1/19/06, 6:07 PM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

It happens in Baltimore too, where schools can't don't or won't get together on vacations and they're all Yeshivish. It's a pain for the parents.

At 1/19/06, 7:39 PM, Blogger Elie said...

Chana: I would be willing to meet them half-way in terms of moving the mid-winter break to late January, if only all the yeshivos moved it to the same week. In a way, I kind of enjoy working over the Christmas-New Years week because it's so nice and quiet at work. If I had kids in public school or college I might feel differently.

And once again, welcome and kudos on your incredible blog!

David: I heard the yeshivish boys and girls high schools now have separate vacation weeks as well.

At 1/20/06, 12:32 AM, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

Maybe, but the schools all seem to go about making incompatible schedules regardless of how hard it makes it for the parents. I don't think that there's any enemy involved, except maybe the parents.

At 1/20/06, 8:48 AM, Blogger Shifra said...

This winter vacation problem drives me mad every year.
My husband is a college Prof and is off of work from Xmas through New Years, and my kids are off some time in mid January. Not only does this mean that we can never go anywhere as a family but it's always a scramble to figure out what we will do with them each day because neither of us has enough "vacation days" from work.

I'd like my kids to really enjoy their time off (they work WAY too hard all year) and not get shlepped around from here to there all week long. It really frustrates me.

At 1/20/06, 9:25 AM, Blogger Elie said...

David: This is a switch, usually you're the suspicious (paranoid) one and I'm the trusting (naive) one! But in this case I have good reason to believe that the non-alignment of dates is a deliberate policy to discourage mixing between kids from different kinds of schools, and not just sloppiness.


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