Trauma-rama, Hebrew School Style

I Was Candle No. 4 in a Hanukkah Play — Top That!

Forward Montage

By Lenore Skenazy

Published February 11, 2013, issue of February 08, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

If you went to Hebrew school, you probably have one of these.

No, not a prayer book given to you by the sisterhood — though of course you have one of those, too (with the program from your bat mitzvah still stuck inside). I’m talking about something else: a story about a Hebrew school moment you’ll never forget. For some, it was a moment that made you love Judaism and all it stands for. Right?

Anyone?

Okay, for most of us it was pretty much the opposite. For me, in fact, it was the day I realized the real joy of finding a friend with whom to study a whole new language. Not Hebrew. “Pretzel-etzel,” a language wherein Susan Cohn and I inserted “etzel” into any word to make it harder for anyone else, especially the tetzel-eacher, to understand what we were setzel-aying.

And you? After asking around for folks’ most embarrassing moments at Hebrew school, here’s what we heard.(Some names have been omitted to protect the mortified):

I went to a reform temple for preschool and remember being cast as “Miriam” in the Passover play, and being so shy, I tossed baby Moses (a doll) into a basket and just ran off the stage. After that — maybe because of that — I was Candle No. 4 in the Hanukkah play.

— Rachel Sokol Slavin, Education Writer, New York City

According to my mother, when I was six, my teacher (the evil Mrs. Schlifkin) was telling us that God made the world and all of us. I insisted that God did NOT make me — my mommy and daddy did. My parents were then asked to remove me. And there went my formal Jewish education. A postscript: When high school rolled around, Mrs. Schlifkin used to substitute teach there, and she remembered me. Not fondly.

— C.L.L.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • British Jews are having their 'Open Hillel' moment. Do you think Israel advocacy on campus runs the risk of excluding some Jewish students?
  • "What I didn’t realize before my trip was that I would leave Uganda with a powerful mandate on my shoulders — almost as if I had personally left Egypt."
  • Is it better to have a young, fresh rabbi, or a rabbi who stays with the same congregation for a long time? What do you think?
  • Why does the leader of Israel's social protest movement now work in a beauty parlor instead of the Knesset?
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.