Sunday, April 17, 2005

Foul Language

So it was inevitable. My son picked up some foul language. From us or from someone else - it is irrelevant. Granted, I have made great strides in watching my language in front of my kids, but at the same time, all they need to do is walk down the street to be subject to profanity.

Needless to say, my son was using one specific expletative a whole lot. So much so that I needed to take a grown-up action. I took him aside for a minute and explained to him that it is a bad word. And that there are bad words that are very hurtful and mean and we shouldn't use those words. He seemed to understand, he seemed to get it more so than usual, but wouldn't you know it - he kept asking all weekend - 'Daddy, why is _______ a bad word?'. I finally told him that he can't ask about bad words anymore, and just not say them.

We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Getting out of the Ghetto... sort of.

This past week we received our tuition packet for our son's school for next year. We are very excited (except for the money part) that he is starting at his first Yeshiva which will educate him in both the ways of the secular world as well as instill and reinforce the Jewish values and practices that we observe in our home.

Of course part of the logic behind placing him in an immersive religious environment is that he will be surrounded by kids who's parent's come from similar backgrounds and want similar education and values for their kids. But the other part of me wonders if I wanted to raise him in a sheltered environment, why did I move out of Brooklyn - where our entire block could have been comprised of Orthodox jews?

Part of me likes to think that he would be exposed to kids of other backgrounds to some extent. We current send him to a secular playgroup in our area, where his friends are ethnically and religiously diverse. The point is to et him to undersatand and appreciate the virtures of our religion, while at the same time being cognizant, that we are a minority in the world, and we need to interact with others all around us.

Maybe I can find a way to put him into a little league for baseball or hockey (of course finding one without Saturday games will be rough).

Friday, April 08, 2005

The Pope

Today Pope John Paul II was laid to rest. The Pope is definitely not a person that orthodox Jews talk about often, and in some circles, even the simple acknowledgement of his death might be considered taboo.

Truth be told, being that I am only 4 years older than the 26 he spent leading the Catholic church, I have no one to compare him to, but I have to say that he has definitely been a positive force in building bridges beween Jews and Catholics. Yes this is the man beatified Pious XII - who turned a blind eye to the Holocaust, but this is also the same pope who recognized Israel, and on his first (and I think Only) official visit, he went to Yad Vashem - the Holocaust memorial museum.

There is a concept in Judaism of the Chasidei Umot Haolam - the righteous gentiles. I am sure that many would debate the Pope's Status in that regard, and despite how his gestures were received by the Jewish community, the greater testimony to his legacy is that those gestures were made.

My sympathies go out to the cCatholic world on the loss of their dynamic leader, and I can only hope that his successor too will continue to build bridges between Catholics, Jews, and other faiths.