Sunday, June 10, 2018

Venturing in Judaism

I don't usually write posts like this and this is not a rash decision, but I felt like I kind of had to do it. 

We are definitely not religious people, but our kids went to Catholic daycare that had nuns as care givers in their first years of life, then Ilya went to Jewish preschool which was a great experience for him and for our entire family as we made some really good friends at the synagogue.  We are open to religion and religious institutions.

Last fall, we looked all over Frankfurt and its surroundings for schools for Andrei for next year.  The search did include private schools as well as state-funded ones.   All the schools we saw were nice and friendly even though it was clear that some of them were not the right choice for us or for the school, but then we shook hands and left.

One school, however, was down right nasty when I meet with them.  When I came across the school online, it seemed like it might of been a good match with offerings of extra German classes if needed, informatics class and extra-curricular Russian classes as well as many others.  I set up an interview with the director, explaining to her in advance that we have 3 kids and looking for spots for all of them.  She asked me to bring in the kids last report cards.

I arrived at school a couple of minutes early, went through the security and then wondered the hallways because nobody would help me find the correct office.  Eventually I found this hidden door that led to her office on my own but the first couple of minutes were pretty not welcoming.  Once we met, I asked the director if we can speak English (instead of German) and she tells me that she would prefer German.  That's pretty weird because everbody with a higher education speaks English but I let it go.  Then they look at Andrei's report card which has good grades but also a note that he is in special German class and within 5 minutes, she tells me that her school is not a good match for our family.  She never inquired about the other kids, she never asked me any real questions, she just looked at that one note and decided that we are not good enough for her.  The meeting lasted approximately 5 minutes after which she stood up and made it clear that we are done.

A couple of days later I met with a woman whose children go to that school and who also have some learning difficulties and she told me that she had nearly the same experience until the director heard the child's name.  After the child's name was announced all over sudden all the difficulties were ignored and the family was welcomed.  The family was Jewish and the names of the kids were Jewish as well.

The school's name is I.E. Lichtigfeld Schule.   If you would like to click on the link, then the welcoming picture is that of the unfriendly director.  It is the only Jewish day school in Frankfurt and it is the only school in Frankfurt that made me feel like we are not good enough ( and I am extremely happy that I attended the meeting alone and Andrei was never made to feel that way).   

P.S. I also made a phone call to the Jewish community to see if we can join them, the response was to come to next years open house in 9 months.  Other than that they are not interested in new members.  I am thinking it's pretty safe to say we are done with Jewish institutions in Frankfurt.
Andrei in front of his new school

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