By Aron Blum
By Aron Blum
There’s an old famous Jewish folk song: Oy vi git tzi zein a Yid. Oh, how great it is to be a Yid.
Last week at the Seder table, after we all ‘busted our chops” to get to that point, physically, financially and emotionally, we certainly felt proud and honored to be Frum Yiden. We most definitely enjoyed our status as the chosen nation. Hey, what can be better than sitting at the royal table home or as a guest, surrounded by our kids and parents with beaming faces, enveloped with a spiritual ambiance recounting our great redemption. Elegant dishes, eating the holy Matzah and drinking the 4 cups of fine wine? Not sure what you shelled out for Afikoman, I got away with few hundred dollars, and so far that’s promises only. All kidding aside, Pesach is certainly the most beautiful family time to celebrate and enjoy.
Some of us, those who have teenage boys and girls at home, have a bone to pick with this ‘unforgettable’ season. It’s the ‘before and after’ scene, that seems to be stuck in the “before” mode every year again and again. You probably figured out by now that I’m inching towards the “BH syndrome”; The Bein Hazmanim Syndrome.
Lots of ink and stress has been pored over what parents feel, and go thru, each and every “Bein Hazmanim”, that for some odd reason repeats itself several times every year. I’m sure that if we’ll gather each and everyone’s BH stories, we can assemble a separate Encyclopedia with thousands of stories and scenarios. Today I’d like to focus on one aspect of BH; the anxiety of registration and acceptance of our kids to Yeshivos and Schools. Although the Pesach season sees fewer registration transactions then the Elul and beginning of the school year season, nevertheless lots of kids feel the urgency, or are forced to change their place of schooling.
Several years ago, I visited my friend at his workplace, he ran a large diamond manufacturing factory on 47 Street in the city. That was before the Indians and Chinese sadly seized the diamond manufacturing industry. I watched with amazement tens of hardworking, dedicated men, most in blue-collar uniform, cutting, drilling, and polishing with great accuracy, under a microscope, every millimeter of the diamond they were assigned to perfect. Although some of them were listening on their ‘Walkman’ (remember?) to Shiurim, music or news, they were all laser focused to bring the very best out in the “stone” they were trusted. As I was spending time there, I began hearing the word “rough” everywhere. I asked my friend Josh, how does a Rough word enter this room, a place of extreme accuracy and precision? You think the Tiffany diamonds were born the way you see them, he said, we get “rough stones”, all rough no exceptions. Our job is to turn ‘roughs into beauties’, and this is no easy task, he explained. As I was ready to leave, suddenly the room turned into chaos, one of the sizzling diamonds fell off the work stand and couldn’t be found. The air in the room turned so tense you couldn’t even cut it with a chain saw. The place suddenly looked like a goldmine, everyone searching, digging and looking in every possible hole and crack. All pants cuffs were turned inside out and cleaned like Erev Pessach. His Boss, a fine, rich and esteemed man, came in, laid down on the floor, and combed every particle of dust for twenty minutes. Finally, one of the guys found the baby, thank god. The place slowly went back to law and order. That’s what I call ‘A diamond manufacturing facility’.
Lately, we see too often, some Jewish Mosdos (institutions) positioning themselves like retail establishments. They aim to showcase glitzy diamonds, as if waiting for some ritzy shoppers to later acquire them. They lose sight of the very purpose they were established; creating and polishing our diamonds, turning roughs into beauties, under the umbrella of: “we simply have no room”. ManyMosdos are eyeing only the best and brightest kids in every grade, and are strongly resisting terrific ‘Medium students’ who can, and shall, be polished, cut, educated and groomed to be the brightest diamonds of the next generation. (A flashy Amex Platinum card can help too). Yes, I’m well aware that in some cases the stones are flawed and can c”v have the bad apple effect, but in many cases the game is not fair to parents and their kids just for being Medium and even Medium/plus. This shouldn’t have room in the authentic Jewish Chinuch where Kol Yisroel arevim zeh l’zeh. We always have to keep our ‘factories’ open, and yes, if a mechanech or teacher sees a diamond not doing well or c”v gravitating towards the floor, they should lay down on the floor and search relentlessly how to find, and appeal to, the temporarily lost diamond. Aren’t the Jewish kids as valuable at least as royal diamonds?
I don’t kid myself that being a member on the acceptance board is a simple responsibility, and trust me, I wouldn’t want to be there. But in light (or in dark) of the recent epidemic of medium diamonds getting lost, and often not being found for a long time, more acceptance and heart has to be re-imported to our midst.
Let us all pray to Hashem, that the kids, the parents and the mechanchim get to see more vividly the light and brightness our esteemed nation consists of.
I’m inviting you to join this online conversation. Share your thoughts as to what “we the people” can do to alleviate this painful occurrence.
Aron Blum is an accomplished certified coach, committed to helping people navigate their personal and Business encounters. He is head of SCC, Success Coaching Center, a prestigious coaching practice, basedin Brooklyn NY. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org