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Jewish Graduations and End of Year Celebrations

June 14, 2018 | by David Kilimnick

From nursery school to retirement.

Mazal tov! Yours kids are finishing their school year which means that for the next two weeks you will be doing a lot of celebrating. It used to be that we really cared about graduation from college or Yeshiva. Now we celebrate just about everything. So you had better be there for these…

Nursery School Graduation

A graduation celebrated with little kids singing/screaming “Hatikva”. Parents sit and watch the spectacle of their little tone-deaf loved one, while wondering when they can get back to work.

This display hits its climax when your Sara, ends up giving up on her own graduation and sitting on your lap. At which point, you have to carry Sara back to her seat and put the paper circle hat back on her head. Then you have to muster up the naches for Sara and the other four-year-olds who are singing “The Ants Go Marching One By One.”

Nursery School non-Graduation

Your three year old isn’t graduating from anything. But why crush her little heart by telling her the bad news. Instead, how about a faux graduation party for three year olds that features a circular piece of construction paper that has had a whole in the middle and is stapled on the sides. The cut paper circle hat demarks all celebrations for Jewish children, until they reach fourth grade.

Kindergarten Graduation

Celebrate this kid finishing kindergarten by handing them a diploma they can’t read. This time the official diploma has a little Hebrew on it so you can’t read it either. Again, this graduation is celebrated with the singing/screaming of “Hatikva.”

Siddur Party

Finally, your child gets a prayer book. Party to end first grade, this has you wondering why your child was in a Jewish Day School and not praying all year.

Yoni and Rachel’s Birthday

That happens at the end of every year. Got to celebrate this as well. They think that everybody is happy because their birthday brings so much joy to the other children at school. They still don’t get it that kids are just happy school is out.

Siddur Cover Party

End of second grade, they cover their prayer book. After a whole year of an exposed siddur that has been ripped, the children are finally taught that it is important to cover their siddur with bags from the supermarket.

Chumash Party

They get their first Hebrew Bible, in third grade. We are celebrating that the Jewish Day School will finally teach our children something.

Chumash Cover Party

We now cover the Chumash, in fourth grade. My Wegmans Supermarket Chain version of the Bible was always meaningful to me. Thanks to my mom saving paper bags, I always think about Torah when I am in the dairy section.

After fourth grade we celebrate nothing. Just graduations and Yoni and Rachel’s Bowling Parties. Nobody gets any books of the Prophets or Mishnah for free. You must pay for those, and we don’t celebrate that.

School Assembly

The Jewish private school accomplished nothing with your children over the course of the school year and parents must come to school for an assembly for their children to demonstrate this.

Traditionally, a song leader comes out with the children to demonstrate how ill prepared they are. Jewish schools have song leaders. They have given up on choir teachers because there’s not enough talent to get the kids to sing “Sim Shalom” in unison.

End of the Year Soccer Team Party

This is where you take your Jewish child to a party with all their teammates so that they can’t eat. Along with all parties at Chuck E. Cheese’s, your child learns the valuable lesson that Jews are not allowed to celebrate like non-Jews because of the destruction of the Temple and the fact Bubble Yum bubble gum still isn’t kosher.

Sports Awards Ceremony

Why did your child get the most improved and participation awards again? It is your genes.

Science Fair

This is a fair you go to, so that you can see what your child did with the baking soda. Somehow, they learned in science class that volcanos are made of baking soda.

Art Fair

An exhibit of one more piece of poor paper mache sculpting, which also looks like a balloon and not the ten commandment tablets they were going for. You will also have to throw this piece of art out when your child is not looking, preferably when they go to camp. If you can wait that long.

Piano Recital

You wanted your kid to play an instrument, and now you are regretting the concept of a well-rounded child. Like the violin recital of your other child who didn’t practice, you realize failure when your child is the last one to join all of the others, still stuck only playing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. And now you have definitive proof that the Suzuki method doesn’t work.

Joining in on the art fair and piano recital, you can be reassured that your child will not go into the arts. That is a relief. Nonetheless, those questions from nursery school still linger on.

Dad Just Got Fired Because He Missed Two and a Half Weeks of Work

Only person celebrating this is dad.

Now that this exhausting effort is all done, celebrate sending your child off to camp. And do it right, by cutting a paper and making a circle out of it, stapling it and putting it on your head.

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