Posts tagged “religious education”.

Religious School Report to Parents

Okay, here are my Hebrew School report cards. Mrs. Rutner was my first teacher. I love how things are rosy, followed by “but.”

“Seth is quiet in class but he seems to be absorbing the oral language nicely.”

“Seth is making very fine progress in every area. Please encourage attendance at Junior Congregation on Shabbat.”

“It was a pleasure to have Seth in my class. Promoted to grade Bet.”

The next year I was taught by septuagenarian Mrs. Kaplan.

“Seth has made considerable progress. He shows effort and interest.”

“Seth has show much improvement in all areas. He should practice reading to improve his speed. [Where was I going?] He should do his homeworl more regularly.”

“Seth has made good progress. However he could do better. Comes unprepared.”

This woman promoted me to Gimel, but the LOWER, dumber track. I skipped two Sunday classes in a row and while she made sure to actually take me into a windowless storage area to give me some extra attention… it didn’t work. But her reports are somewhat pleasant.

I was then handed over to Mssrs. Zapinski and Gerlitz. Loved the former, hated the latter. Mr. Gerlitz told tall Zionist tales to prove a point, when he could have just told the truth. Let’s see what they had to say:

“Seth could easily get good marks–if he were to do his homework. [E.Z.]”

“He seems very happy with his studies, though his marks don’t reflect it.”

What the hell is that supposed to mean, and where is the plan to make me a good li’l Jewish student?

The following year I was graded by Mr. Gerlitz, although I recall a man who taught one of the other subjects. He was the son of another teacher (hence his uterine credentials gave him qualifications?), and he would sweat a lot. Possibly a pedophile.

Mr. Gerlitz reports in broken English:

” A very smart guy, but very lazy to do his work. Seth is not attending enough the Sabbath Services.”

For some reason, Mr. Gerlitz did not include any remarks for the second and final reports that year. I suspect he was spending too much time at Sabbath Services, and very lazy to do his own damned work.

For the fifth and sixth years, there are no narrative, but here’s how I fared gradewise. For some reason, Hebrew Language is not on one report, but I was doing “good” in Torah, “very good, good, and then fair” in Jewish Living, and then Good and then Excellent in History.”

In the next marking period, my marks for Hebrew Language suddenly appear, “fair, to good, to fair again.” Never unsatisfactory, though. The following year, when that bastard Rabbi Mayerfeld was in charge, I am listed as “Fair minus, and then twice as unsatisfactory.” And yet, within ten months, I flew through my Haftarah and Torah portions. Why? Because kindly Mr. Zapinsky was my tutor. And, I had to share my torah and haftarah portion with another kid, and at the last minute, I got the harder, second half because I was told the other kid was not as smart as I was.

So, how the hell did I go from “unsatisfactory” as per the “rabbi” who told the entire class that Mr. Rutner, the principal, thought I was “illiterate,” to being “the smarter of the bnai mitzvah” pairing?

Furthermore, let the record show that during that final year of Hebrew junior high school, I got “Excellent” in every single other subject–Torah, Jewish Living, and History.

I just hope that Hebrew Schools are much better today than they were back when I was a little kids surrounded by vicious homophobic social-climbing semites, and hte horrible teachers with no qualifications who babysat them three days a week for two or three hours.

Ultimately, the problem was this: I was sent to Hebrew School by parents who expected the teachers to teach me, but Mom was unable to help since she received no Jewish education, and Dad did what he could, but he worked hard and couldn’t do it all. And the teachers didn’t really reach out much to the parents.

By the way, I have done a lot of Jewish education, and I am pretty well versed in some things, and not others. But I still wish my Hebrew were better, and that Ulpan weren’t so expensive.