When we toured a Jewish day school, we thought it was not for us. We saw boys in kippahs. It did not feel like us; it felt too Jewish.

Marcy, mother of Charlie and Eli

We had moved to Seattle and chose our home because we wanted to be in a good public school neighborhood. We started our boys’ schooling at the local JCC for preschool. Though many families moved on from preschool to Jewish day school, we first tried public. We quickly became unhappy with the first grade experience. Initially we did not know where to go next.

At first, when we toured a Jewish day school, we thought it was not for us. We saw boys in kippahs. It did not feel like us; it felt too Jewish. But we took a gamble, because we knew families at the school, and we were delighted and surprised.

I’m very planned and programmatic. So doing something on a whim was out of the ordinary for me and my family. But it payed off in dividends. We loved the small class size, and the intellectual rigor that the dual curriculum offered. And then the Hebrew on top of it!  I never felt very Jewish in my upbringing; I’m happy my boys are having a different experience. They’re proud of being Jewish.

We now feel wholeheartedly that the most important thing about being in a Jewish place is being with your Jewish people. But we’ve definitely become more observant with our boys in day school. I lained at my son’s bar mitzvah and I was proud of myself. Having the boys in Jewish day school turned out to be a tool for my own personal experience too.