Wednesday, March 05, 2008


The fat envelope arrived today. I didn't realize exactly what it was until I went through the flushes of emotion that accompanied similar arrivals my senior year of high school. The fat envelope, 9x12, the one that contains the acceptance letter.

I wish it were called something else. It is more than just a statement of admission. It's a hard copy statement that says, "You're enough like what we need you to be to be accepted. We'll take you, with all of your baggage, and conditionally too, because if your baggage becomes too cumbersome, we'll have to reconsider."

It was an acceptance letter to nursery school, the early years program of a prominent Jewish day school. My delicious 3 year old has been accepted to the school of his (oops, our) choice. For those of you who have followed my postings, you'll remember that I went through this last year when we applied him to a two's program and chose ultimately to send him to Chabad...although we're 100% not Chabad. This school is a MUCH closer fit with our personal religious practice and our philosophical orientation.

The big deal here is that this is an ongoing school, meaning that we don't have to fill out another damn application, submit to a playdate/child interview and a parent interview, and write stupid essays about the ways in which our personal religious practice meshes with the school's philosophy. It's an even bigger deal because he made the cut; there were a total of about 15 available spots for boys and girls, and my kid made it.

I feel accepted. And unfortunately, it's much more about us than about our son.

The whole thing is pathetic. This is school, after all. And a Jewish day school. It irks me a great deal that there are people shut out of the process, that not everyone is accepted, and that there's not a seat at the table for parents who want to take advantage of this kind of Jewish education for their children. I do acknowledge that this is a ridiculously competitive environment that we live in, and that in order to be seen as competitive, schools have to cultivate that image of themselves. And even though we're in, it bothers me.

Inside that fat envelope was a very impersonal welcome letter and about 15 pages of jargony contracts, tuition statements, and explanations of the various methods of making payment (cut off your left leg and send it in with 10%, be billed daily, tuition discounts beginning with the 10th child, etc.). And it still left me breathless with excitement. Or breathless in a panic. How are we going to pay for this??

1 comment:

Ima Shalom said...

Mazal Tov!