Thursday, November 29, 2007

I've got a bone to pick. I think it's a herring bone. from the buffet at the synagogue. because I'm Jewish and all.

Today Ezra came home from school with a permission slip to go on a field trip in a couple of weeks. I was delighted, because his class hadn't been on one in a while and field trips are fun!

But then I read the specifics and my heart sank like a latke. The children will be going to the Grove Park Inn to "view gingerbread houses, Christmas trees, sing with Major Bear and the Grove Park Inn carolers."

And I was just so pissed off that whoever wrote this didn't realize there needs to be an "and" instead of a comma after "houses." What's with these people?

Actually, here's what I'm upset about: Religion has no place in the public schools, hello!

I'll admit that I'm up on this soapbox for personal reasons. My kid is Jewish. He doesn't celebrate Christmas. Maybe if every kid celebrated the same holidays and went to the same houses of worship, I wouldn't care about this issue at all.

But as long as there is just one nebbishy Jewboy child who doesn't celebrate Christmas in the mix, going on a Christmas-y field trip just isn't okay. As it is, Ezra goes and feels excluded, or he doesn't go and feels excluded.

The contention that Christmas is an American holiday is preposterous, as is the claim that carols and gingerbread houses and Christmas trees are so mainstream they no longer have any religious connotations. (I really don't know about Major Bear.)

You could argue that there's no way not to exclude any kids ever. If there's a dad in a story that the teacher reads to the class, there might be a lone fatherless little girl who feels left out. If there's a unit on color in art class, the colorblind boy is completely out of the loop. There are always differences among kids, and it's true there's no way to factor in all of them when planning lessons.

And yet, religious practice is so fundamentally different. Right? This is America. Separation of church and state?

I'm not asking that the school also take the kids on a field trip to the menorah lighting ceremony at the Jewish Community Center. I'm just asking that they stick to kindergarten stuff--discovering that spiders have eight legs, saving the planet, lurning to reed and spel--and let the families practice whatever religion we want to, on our own time and in our own way.


Paida said...

Thanksgiving = American Holiday

Christmas? not so much.

Just because a lot of us non-religious people also celebrate Christmas does not mean it is not a fundamentally religious holiday. Obviously if my ancestors had not been Christian it wouldn't have become our families tradition.

I guess what I am trying to say is: Jesus really is the reason for the Season.

Tough call on the field trip. Bummer.

Paida said...

that would be "our family's tradition" ooops.

tiny tin bird said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tiny tin bird said...

Just because your people killed Jesus, that doesn't mean you can't celebrate his birth.

Story said...

I think Christmas should be all about Major Bear!