Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
(This is what I originally wrote and I'm posting it now to clarify yesterday's abbreviated post.)
I miss David being in a school environment where Hanukkah is celebrated.
I don't miss Hanukkah gifts for the staff.
The truth is I don't think there is anything wrong with presenting teachers and other staff with a token of appreciation, although I'm conflicted over whether a group collection or individual presents are preferable. But I think it's a problem when cash gifts are expected, moreover when large cash gifts are expected. (One friend gave his son's rebbe five hundred dollars!?)
And don't give me that nonsense that there is nothing wrong with a rebbe accepting such a gift if parents give it of their own volition and there is nothing the school can do about this. When I worked in camp we were forbidden to accept any tips from parents and it was understood that violators would be fired. (In my two summers I never heard of anyone taking a tip.) While public school employees where I live are permitted to receive presents, they are limited to gifts worth twenty five dollars or less. And I can tell you that the vast majority of gifts are worth a fraction of that. And just in case the policy isn't clear, at the last PTA meeting the principal reiterated over and over that parents are not expected to give gifts, than any gifts must be less than $25 and that there is really no reason even to give that much (and that a homemade holiday card is perfectly fine).
But yes, I miss David being in a school environment where Hanukkah is celebrated.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
From Lancelot Addison's popular volume on Moroccan Jews, The Present State of the Jews (London, 1675):
In time of Prayers none are permitted openly to spit, belch yawn, or blow the Nose. All of which they do in great Secrecy in the Synagogue, when they have occasion. Neither may they spit, or any such thing, to the right hand or before them; because of the Angels, which have made those places their Situation in the Synagogue.