Today I’m feeling down. I just sent in the re-enrollment forms to my kids’ school. The modern orthodox yeshiva day school that all of my kids currently attend. Except I didn’t re-enroll my son for next year.
We aren’t sure what he’s doing next year but at this point it’s looking either like he’ll attend a pluralistic Jewish Day School or public school. My husband and I want him to attend the Jewish Day School. If he had his way, he’d attend public school. The Jewish school is LGBT friendly. They have a GSA and religion is taught in a very “choose your own adventure” type of way. Which I think would be good for him. He just has to get past himself enough to give the school a chance (he is going for a visit in the next few weeks).
I’ve mentioned this before but our son isn’t very into Judaism. He never has been, and feels this way now more than ever. It’s really hard as a parent because honestly, I don’t feel I can push him in this way. How could I push my child towards a religion that he may never be comfortable in? If I would tell him I expected him to stay orthodox, I would be telling him to stay in a group that generally doesn’t accept people like him. At this point I’m sincerely hoping that he has positive feelings towards Judaism and our culture in a general sense. That’s why I hope he goes to the Jewish school.
He’s getting involved in some Jewish LGBT groups. This makes me happy. I’m hoping he can find a sense of community there that he doesn’t feel he currently has. He plans on attending the Keshet Teen Shabbaton in April. Additionally, JQY has set up a moderated list- serv for younger LGBT teens (under 17) who come from Orthodox backgrounds. He has joined that and has already made a couple of friends on this email group.
But this doesn’t stop me from feeling down. We chose the school our children are at thinking they would stay there for their academic careers. There are some special programs that are happening next year that I yearn for my son to take part in. But I know he doesn’t feel fully comfortable in his current school. He hasn’t received any outright hostility ( he isn’t really out there) but he feels an undercurrent of non-acceptance there. Whether because it is an Orthodox school that at the end of the day must tow the party-line, or what, I don’t know. But I know that since we told him we don’t expect him to go back next year, it’s almost like an invisible weight has been lifted from his shoulders.
I know this is part of the process. I’m mourning what was expected. I am so thankful that this is ALL I’m mourning, please don’t get me wrong. But it’s still something I’m dealing with. And I know this will happen many times over the coming years.