Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Living a Lie

For the past few summers David has been attending a camp that while is under Orthodox auspices, isn't very strong Jewishly and has many campers from non-religious homes. We had been perfectly content with such a camp, but now that David isn't in yeshivah we decided that he could benefit religiously and socially from being in a camp that is stronger Jewish-wise. We filled out an application for a local right-wing camp that we had heard good things about and waited to hear back from them. And waited. And waited.

I finally called up the office and was informed that they weren't sure what to do with his application because he doesn't attend yeshivah.  There was some (civil) back and forth during the course of which I assured the camp we are shomer shabbos, etc. and that David is on the same level in terms of observance and knowledge as many of the campers who come from our neighborhood. The camp wanted to know why he is in public school. I explained that it was an educational choice we made. I told them I have nothing to hide and suggested they contact David's tutor, our shul rabbi, parents of David's friends who go to the camp, etc. to get more information about us.

In the end David was accepted to the camp. I'm just nervous because while he is generally well behaved in school and camp, I'm sure he will inevitably have a bad day and get into trouble at least once. And I'm sure when that happens the camp will regret having accepted a public school kid. (I also hope he doesn't he doesn't spontaneously sing his favorite Beatles medley.)

I was serious when I told the camp I have nothing to hide. I wasn't going to play that game of lying about this or that or change my behavior so our kid would be accepted. Nonetheless, Kinneret and I alternated between anxiety and anger until we finally heard back from the camp with a positive response. All this anxiety and anger just to get my kid into a camp? I know plenty of people who live like this all year round, and year after year. Their entire anxiety- and anger-filled lives are one big lie, all in order to please the yeshiva, camp, shul, friends, neighbors, in-laws, customers, shadchan, etc. What a terrible way to live.


tesyaa said...

My boys are the only public school kids in their Orthodox camp, and the staff and campers have been awesome with them. Some people actually care about kids, which is refreshing.

Jennifer in MamaLand said...

We have a girls' high school here which requires you to sign a form affirming that your kids have no access to TV or Internet (we had the application package because all the girls check out all the schools, even the ones they have no intention of going to). Still - I know several girls in the school and know for a FACT that they all have both those things. Which means their parents lie, plain and simple. Everybody knows it; everybody looks the other way.

abba's rantings said...


what you describe is standard where i live