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Thursday, 10 September 2009

Kitah AlephIf Beernut had the Ima for a mom, the day probably would have started with pancakes in the shape of the aleph-bet. [I SO want to be her when I grow up.]

I really had planned to make a batch of Beernut’s favourite muffins. It was a total b’li neder moment because by the time I got home from shul on Tuesday night (with a side trip to the market), got the groceries put away, prepped everyone’s bags for the next day, and took a shower, it was 10:16pm and I could not imagine doing anything that could not be done in a horizontal position, with my eyes closed, and in a semi-conscious state.

So he got his favourite yogurt instead.

Yesterday. 20 Elul 5769. The first day of Hebrew School. How did my little Beernut get old enough to go to Hebrew School?

I still remember my first day of Hebrew School. It was a bittersweet moment. My teacher was Mrs. Douglas, who was the mother of my first boyfriend, Mikey. She was really tall and very nice. And I learned a lot from her. But she was a last minute addition to the teaching staff, hired to replace Mrs. Burkin, z”l. Mrs. Burkin, my friend Hale’s mom, was rumoured to be the nicest Hebrew School teacher at the shul and I had been eagerly anticipating being her student. She got sick that summer and, though we did not know it at the time, would not recover from her illness.

Funny, really, how that one incident colours my memory of that entire year. I think that she was the first mom I knew who died. Which made Hale the first kid I knew without a mother. I went over to Hale’s house for dinner a few months after the funeral. His dad served hamburgers inbetween two slices of white bread.

So this is what it’s like when there are no women in the house. This is what it must be like without a mother.

It seemed so awfully sad.

I loved Hebrew School. Every minute of it. I loved my blue machberet (they’re still blue!!). I loved the teachers from Europe who were clearly thrilled to see a thriving, living young generation of Jewish children. I loved the crazy Israeli teachers whose thick accents and limited knowledge of American colloquialisms regularly sent us into fits of hysterics. I even loved being kicked out of class and sent to the Rabbi’s office on the final day of my final year of Hebrew for insubordination.

Beernut, you follow in the footsteps of your parents, your uncles, your tantes, your grandparents, all the way back to the shtetls in Galicia and Lithuania and Russia. [I claim Lithuania as my home…you are free to count the others as well. You should know, however, that it is a well-documented fact that those Galiktzianers are just plain crazy! But I digress… Now where was I….oh yes…] You follow in the footsteps of all those who came before you, and our shared language links you to every generation all the way back to the shadow of the Mountain. Now the words will leap off the page for you and lead you on God’s Path. And for that, my sweet son, your parents rejoice.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Cammy permalink
    Thursday, 10 September 2009 11:25 pm

    Mazal Tov!

  2. Friday, 11 September 2009 8:28 am

    aw, so sweet.

  3. Friday, 11 September 2009 3:52 pm

    You definitely put me up too high, especially since my kiddo started Hebrew School this week too and he didn’t get a beautiful blog post about it!!!!! So….I’ll be you and you be me when we grow up, k? 🙂 Mazel tov to you all…

  4. Dadgifaffe permalink
    Saturday, 12 September 2009 10:08 am

    This was a moving entry, indeed. Your remembrance of your first Hebrew teachers brought back floods of memories. Interestingly, I had repressed your expulsion from class!

    Beernut and I said Shehecheyanu together before he went to class. That’s what you call nachas (and I don’t mean nachos!)

    Though only one of your antecedents actually came from Lithuania, I know why you concider yourself a Litvak. One of your best teachers ever–at HSI–used to endearingly call you “my little Litvak.”

  5. Thursday, 1 October 2009 8:33 pm

    Wow, I don’t remember my first day of Hebrew School at all, although I also had Mrs. Douglas, who was probably my favorite Hebrew teacher ever.

  6. Saturday, 3 October 2009 11:01 pm

    beautiful post. made me think of my fourth grade teacher (z”l), and what a huge influence she had on me….

  7. Frume Sarah permalink*
    Tuesday, 6 October 2009 11:17 pm

    I am pleased to report that the shine has not tarnished for Beernut. He still fiercely loves Hebrew School 😉

    When I think about the influence just one teacher can have (for good or for ill), it makes me so cognizant of the precious time I have with my students.

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