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What’s Expected of Parents by Jewish Day Schools

August 31, 2017 | by David Kilimnick

It’s homework time and as a parent of kids in Jewish schools that means one thing: start studying.

Your summer vacation is over and your children are back at school, which means that you can get back to work. It also means that your children will once again feel no need to succeed. No third grader is worried about getting a decent job. Let’s be honest, you are the one who is going to be depending on these kids when you get older, and it doesn’t look promising. You saw the Lego castle they just built, and it looks like a hovel.

When children get to school, they know which parents care about their kids by comparing snacks.

For your child to be a success, and to ultimately care for you properly, you need to make sure they are at the top of the class. So, buckle down and make the school year work for you.

Here are some expectations of you, as a parent, and ways that you should deal with them this school year:


You are a parent, so start studying.

I failed third grade because my mom was bad at math. An amazingly smart and loving woman, my mom never took adding and subtracting different colored popsicle sticks seriously. I don’t want you making the same mistakes on take home exams that my mom made. You want your kid getting into a good university, so start studying. The reason why I never made the world of Klezmer proud by becoming a violinist is because my mom never picked up the violin for me. She expected me to play it. And that was a formula for failure.

Bottom line: make your kid is a success by getting ‘A’s. If required, do their homework. If you need to, let them know your child is sick and you show up for the test that day.

Grammar? Your child is now in the first grade and you are going to have to master the Hebrew ‘Aleph Bet’ letters. You want your kid making it into a good Bible class, and that means you must brush up on your tracing abilities. Start with a straight line for the letter ‘Vav.’

Clear Room for Art Projects

No loving parent throws these out, until their children finish high school. It is then that the child will realize that making a linking paper chain out of poorly cut 150 gram construction paper, for a Sukkah, is not talent.

Please note: teachers will not throw the artwork out for you. They don’t want to look like the bad guy. For this reason, you must save all shapeless balloon looking paper-mache projects your child brings home. Clear out space in the garage for these. You don’t want other people witnessing the extreme lack of talent in your family. There will be a day when your child will question your love for them. At that point, you will be able to open up a box of all of the accidental abstract paintings they made over the course of elementary school. When they are not able to figure out what they painted either, they will know you loved them and why you hid their abilities from the world.


Now it is time to work with other parents. Which means that you are going to end up driving.

For the next 10 months, you are not driving to places anymore. You are driving to homes, on your way to destinations, and then waiting, and driving back to random homes of parents who are able to have extra jobs, because you are driving. After you finish waiting and looking like the only parent who cares if his children are good at dodgeball, you don’t drive back to your house. You drive back to those other homes (that are huge and not yours) to drop kids off.

Buy A Minivan

If you don’t already have one, make sure you have a minivan. To be part of the Jewish Day School Community, you must have a van. Anything that holds at least nine children will work. Do not worry about only having seven seatbelts; stuffing a fourth kid in a row of three seats makes for safety, as the extra child in the row tightens the seating. For this reason, I would suggest adding a fifth child to each row, if you can.

The van also allows you to distance yourself from the kids. There is a back seat for a reason. If you can, seat all nine children in the back row. That will allow for more safety and it will make your carpooling experience much more enjoyable.

Be selective with the music you play. 80s music is required in carpools and that is understood, but these are children and they are easily influenced. You also don’t want it getting back to the other parents that your favorite song is ‘Karma Chamelon’ by the Culture Club. That will endear you to the community too much, and land you a spot on the Jewish Day School board, that starts off every meeting with a discussion about Boy George. The 80s have passed and for good reason.

Get to Sleep Early

You now have to wake up at 6:30am, because your children have to catch a bus. You taught your child how to tie her shoelaces, but you never taught her how to use an alarm. That is your fault.

You do not want them to miss morning prayers at school, or even worse, roll call. Roll call is there so that the school knows who the irresponsible parents are. A child on time means a responsible parent. Everybody knows your child is not showing up late because they had an important phone call and had a few errands to run before catching the bus to school.

Pack Snacks

This is a part of your morning now.

You never taught your child how to take pretzels from a big bag and then to place them in a Ziploc. Again, your fault. If you taught them how to use an alarm and pack snacks, you would have been able to sleep till 7:15am. No child is getting on the bus without you shoving them on.

Be selective in your choice of snacks. When the children get to school, they know which parents care about their kids. The parent whose child is eating cookies, Twizzlers and Sugar Drops; they love their children. Make the snack a Jewish snack, make sure there is sugar in it. Otherwise, there is no chance your child will get diabetes. If you can, make sure the Pez dispenser has side curls.

Prepare Late Notes

You are not waking up at 6:30am. Responsibility is not important when tired. You spent all day in carpools yesterday. Late Notes must be prepared in advance. You cannot use the ‘doctor’s appointment’ late note more than eight times a semester.

Late Notes that Look Good in Jewish Day School:

‘‘I was teaching him the blessing on cereal.’ That is educational, and no Jewish Day School will argue that the blessing should not take more than five seconds.

‘We were visiting my parents.’ That will get you an extended weekend every once in a while. Visiting grandparents can be part of the commandment to ‘honor your parents.’ Going to classes is not a commandment. Though, you get into more trouble for skipping school than sinning.

‘We ran out of Frosted Flakes.’ Anybody with a heart and kids will understand that your child had a tantrum when you offered them Corn Flakes.

‘My child was running errands.’ Your child is a prodigy and knows where to find sugar cereals in the supermarket.

‘We had an extended Shabbat.’ Make your weekend getaway sound Jewish. You can even say that you went to a deli.

‘I had to pack snacks.’

‘I was running around, picking up all the children for their after-school activities, because none of the other parents in this class help with carpooling. See the children that showed up on time? Their parents are selfish.’

‘Culture Club was playing and we were had to play through “Time,” and then we rocked out to some Uncle Moishe and the Mitzvah Men.’

‘I am a parent and I need to sleep.’


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