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Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Report from a Hebrew Charter School Parent

It is always interesting to hear from parents who are testing an alternative, so it was nice to see a comment from Mark. I'm just reprinting the comment since the thread has a massive amount of comments already and I'd hate for helpful commentary to be lost in cyberspace.

This year, my wife and I decided to try something different. We took our 3 eldest out of Yeshiva day school (the 2 youngest are still at a Jewish preschool) and enrolled them in the local Hebrew Charter School instead. We also enrolled them in the separate Judaic Studies school in the afternoons in a different building nearby. So far, the results are as follows (in no particular order).

Positives:
1. Even though I hate to mention money first, and even though I admit that if I had a much higher income I would not have taken this step, it is the primary issue. Not having to pay the approximately $45,000 tuition payments (yes, about $4,500 a month, scary!) is a great relief. Especially this year after our income has fallen dramatically (and sadly doesn't appear to be rising anytime soon).

2. Their secular education seems to be quite good. Interestingly enough, our 10 year old, who usually does very well in every subject other than math, is suddenly also doing very well in math (On her first quarter report card she received a 98%/A in math, never having exceeded 90% in math before!). I attribute that sudden improvement in math skills almost completely to an online program that the school district (along with many other school districts) is using. It is shocking to see her rush to the computer in the evening to go through the skill sets in math, the very subject that she always described as "hating". The funny thing is that she still says that math is her worst subject even though he grades in math are comparable to the rest of her grades this year.

3. It is a small school (though slowly growing), so there is a good level of individual attention. For example, our 3'rd grader started with 8 students in her class, and it is now probably up to 9 or 10 students.

4. My kids are exposed to more diversity than they were at their MO day school. There are some African-American kids, and some Jamaican-American kids, and some Hispanic-American kids in their school. And, yes, all students study Hebrew (at various and appropriate levels, of course)!

5. The Judaic Studies program has a "Mitzvah fair" every month or two in which they focus on a particular "midah" and each class creates a display stand and an activity. It's really quite nice and I am very pleased that they are also making time to teach, and focus on, the concept of midot rather than spending all their time only on the typical straight Judaics as is done in many/most day schools.

Negatives:

1. The school is a bit of a drive from our home and we have to leave the house at about 7:15 each morning to arrive a few minutes before 8 for lineup before all the kids go to their classrooms.

2. The Judaic Studies program is run by a much more frum crowd than their previous MO day school was run by. The teachers are relatively young and sometimes teach the kids what I call "nonsense". For example a month or so ago, they taught about ESHE"L, or Achila, Shtiya, Leviya, and how important it is to perform all 3 parts of the mitzvah. Then they go ahead and tell the kids a story that "once a man did the mitzvah of Achila and Shtiya, but neglected the Leviya", and when you take away the Lamed from ESHE"L, you are left with ESH (fire), and because the man didn't complete the third part, his house burned down. This is utter nonsense, and shouldn't be taught at all, and certainly not to young children who often take things literally.

3. The Judaic Studies program isn't quite long enough, not so much because there isn't enough time allocated to it, but because it takes the young, and mostly inexperienced, teachers longer to get the kids to settle down, and because they tend to spend a little too much time on "fun things" like games, shabbat parties, etc.

All in all, we are mostly satisfied with our choice and will continue to reevaluate as the year progresses.

One re-evaluation just took place this month and we have decided to move our kids to a different Judaics program. This one was just too disorganized and the teachers just too young and/or untrained to handle a classroom full of kids.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mark:
What you're doing takes a lot of courage and I hope it works out well. I've got several questions that I'm wondering if you can answer.
1) Before you moved your kids to the charter school, did you discuss your financial situation with the school, and did the school offer any assistance?
2) Did any Rabbi/Teacher attempt to dissuade you from going the charter route?
3)Do your kids have any additional after school judaic studies programs.
Thanks!!!

Lion of Zion said...

SL:

"I'm just reprinting the comment since the thread has a massive amount of comments already"

but i was rooting for you to get to 300 (and helping out along the way)

MARK:

yes, kol hakavod for your guts. right now the parents in the brooklyn charter school don't yet have any reasonable jewish supplemetary options.

Rabbi Dr. said...

Just regarding the Eshel comment. The truth is this is a medrash chazal, so I don't think it should be termed nonsense. It is recorded by the Chafetz Chaim in his classic work Ahavat Chessed. I don't think he thought it was nonsense. There are many statements in Chazal that make generalized declarations about the consequences of certain sins that do not correspond to our experience. I think we should study deeper and try to understand what Chazal were trying to say rather than arrogantly declaring their words nonsense and patting ourselves on the back that we know better.
That being said, it happens to be that I know of three instances in which this very thing happened. One of them happened to me. So I would hesitate before even questioning the literal veracity of this particular statement. However, if you want to, fine. Just realize there's something deeper there as well.
As far as children go- well that's an old dispute amongst the pedagogues. How much midrash should be taught at that young age. The Traditional approach has always been to teach it young and hopefully as they get older their thinking will get more mature and they'll appreciate the greater meaning. Of course, that often doesn't happen.

Lion of Zion said...

"Of course, that often doesn't happen."

or rather, that doesn't happen often.

Miami Al said...

Good luck! I think that the best part about the charter school isn't the price, it's the options.

In terms of diversity, Modern Orthodox, Chareidi, nominally Orthodox, and heterodox Jews can all know each other, PLUS non Jews, in a Hebrew-friendly academic setting, and you could theoretically pick the after school religious education that interests you.

Alan said...

The local Rabbis in Teaneck don't really care. Trust me. I know what I am talking about. They simply do not care. That is all I can say on that issue without revealing my identity.

Having said that, there are some basic solutions that full-tuition paying parents can take that will have immediate impact; but it involves organization and a willingness to do something bold. For example we must demand an end to:
1) having more than 1 teacher in a classroom (except for your nursery and pre-k of course)
2) having some children learn hebrew subjects in the afternoon and english in the morning as this will drastically cut down on the payroll
3) cease treating our yeshivas as the local employment agency for mommys who want to teach there a few hours a week so that there kids go for free or at a heavily subsidized rate
4) stop giving scholarships; force parents who can't afford tuition to raise the money privately.
5) At the very least, if step 4 is too radical, then eliminate scholarship abuse. This means that you are not allowed a scholarship if you have any of the following: a house worth more than $450k, a car worth more than $15k, you are not permitted any vacations and quite frankly I don't even want to see you put meat in your chulent.
6) There should be one and only one administrator in a school. We don't need 4-5 administrators each presu,ably making six-figure salaries.

Finally, please do not give a penny to NNJKIDS. NNJKIDS is nothing more than a bandaid that will make the patient suffer longer. We need the patient to bleed out and die so that we can start from scratch and build a local yeshiva that the average family can afford. It is absolutely sickening that you need to make well over $200-250k to be able to pay tuition for 2-3 kids. If you have 4 or more kids than you likely are on scholarship unless you are making serious money. (And please don't nit pick if I am a little off on these numbers. The point is that you need to make more than 99% of the population to make ends meet b\c of yeshiva tuition.)
I hope these administrators know that it is on their heads that so many jewish souls will not be born because of the tuition they charge. I suspect that G-d will hold them accountable in the Next World for the pain and suffering they are causing all of us.

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Anonymous said...

Note to Alan and anyone else in Teaneck:

I'm not from NJ but I can empathize with the hardships you feel. But can someone please elaborate what it might mean that the "Rabbis in Teaneck really don't care."

Do the Rabbis think people are just complaining because they can't spend tuition money on houses & cars? Are the Rabbis so detached from the fiscal woes of the congregants? Are the Rabbis part of the "system" and they dare not rock the boat?

I'm just trying to understand what not caring means: as religious jews they should and need to care about the hardships of others. Not caring at the very least is a moral flaw, but it can get much worse.

Anonymous said...

The general attitude of the Rabbis in Teaneck is "stop whining" and "suck it up and deal with it." Essentially they are telling us to continue to allow the administrators to spit on us.

Lion of Zion said...

ANON:

"But can someone please elaborate what it might mean that the "Rabbis in Teaneck really don't care.""

i don't know specifically about teaneck, but some gueses in general:

1) some pulpit rabbis are employed by these schools. they're not going to rock the boat

2) many pulpit rabbis of ostensibly MO shuls don't send their kids to MO schools but to cheaper RW schools. so they may not feel the pinch as much

3) some rabbis make more than their congregants. a lot more. they may not feel the pinch as much. (esp. if they get courtesy tuition discounts)

4) the rabbis are looking over their (right) shoulder and are afraid to push for changes that can be interpreted as diluting torah judaism

5)orthodox rabbis are by nature conservative (with a lowercase c). furthermore they don't want to suggest a change that may not work and then they'll be blamed.

6) rabbis have more daily interaction in shul affair with shul machers, who are more well off

7) they are part of the establishment

8) some of the alternatives (e.g., charter school) will take power/influence away from rabbis in general

just some guese

Lion of Zion said...

ALAN:

"eliminate scholarship abuse."

personally i favor eliminating scholarships, with the exception of temporary assistance for sudden hardship (death, unemployment, etc.).

i still don't understand how tuition committees make their decisions. it seems so subjective. why do they get to choose what are and aren't legitimate expenses. by way of personal example. we went to israel last year for a modest vacation (mostly just paid for tickets and car rental expenses), which should disqualify me from scholarpship. on the other hand i rent a small cheap apt in a crummy building. but there is someone else who has an expensive mortgage but didn't go on vacation last year.

who deserves the scholarship?

Mememe said...

"who deserves the scholarship?"

Me. The answer to that question is always "me."

Miami Al said...

LoZ which is why a fair scholarship system looks at income, PERIOD. If you have other expenses, that is your choice. You have more children? Drive a crappier car. You have elderly and sick parents, live on pasta and rice.

The fact is, letting the scholarship committee decide how one should spend my money is absolutely outrageous. It is NOT the business of a bunch of busybody born-rich idiots to decide what is acceptable expenditures or not.

But, that ultimately requires saying no to parents, and accepting that some parents make choices that preclude their children from getting a Jewish education, and that is the problem of the parent, not the community.

I was appalled that children not only have parents doing their homework, applications (high school and college), etc., but that some parents do so in the school office while working, have their kids sign their name and turn it in.

I suggested that that should be an expellable and firable offense, but the concern was, "but where will the children go?"

No responsibility for parents, hence we have 35 year old children.

PREACH IT said...

Miami Al, I think I love you. This may mean I have to go to YU. Try not to take it personally.

Lion of Zion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lion of Zion said...

AL:

"a fair scholarship system looks at income, PERIOD"

why is that fair?
it penalize families where both parents work.
it penalizes families that waited to get married and have kids until they could support themselves.
it penalizes families whose parents made responsible and realistic education and career choices.
it penalizes the suckers who work overtime or get second jobs, and otherwise try to get ahead and move up in their jobs.
it penalizes people who report all their income.

Jeff said...

It's way too simplistic to say the scholarship system should look at income period. The reality is much more nuanced and depends on income, assets, and circumstances. Let me illustrate.

Scenario 1: Suppose family A is a two-earner couple earning $150,000 per year with $150,000 in assets. Family B is a kollel family, husband learns, wife stays home. They have no income, but assets of $2 million because they have wealthy parents. Who's more deserving?

Scenario 2: Family A earns $150,000per year and has assets of $150,000. Family B earns $200,000, has assets of $200,000, but also has a child who is handicapped and requires significant medical attention. Who's more deserving?

Scenario 3: Family A is a two income couple earning $100,000 per year. Because both parents work, they also have nanny expenses. Family B is a single income couple earning $90,000, but no nanny expenses. Who's more deserving?

The permutations are endless and the answers aren't always easy. What is important is that some type of rule/contribution system is explained to parents in advance because people tend to live up or live down to expectations. You see this in the workplace all the time. If you know in advance, for example, that a school will not qualify you for financial aid if you have mortgage debt above X, you'll think twice about exceeding X. If you know you can't qualify for financial aid if you buy a new car, you'll keep driving the clunker.

Mike S said...

How many Teaneck/Bergenfield parents are prepared to enroll their children in public school for the 2010-11 school year? I am prepared if I can find 20 families to join me.

Up to my neck in bills said...

Mike S, Everyone will say that and the sea will not split. Someone needs to be the Nachshon ben Aminadav.

Dovid said...

ATTENTION BERGENFIELD RESIDENTS:

I am going to be setting up a facebook account and/or gmail address where I will attempt to gather at least a small amount of families (hopefully at least 6-10 families) to try and arrange a group tour of Lincoln Elementary School. This is the public school that is nearest to our homes (assuming you live within the eruv in Bergenfield). I plan on meeting with the school's principal in advance to explain the situation to him and the unique needs of our population (issues relating to the importance of children not sharing snacks due to Kashrus reasons. In light of liability associated with allergy issues, i suspect this won't be a problem.) Assuming we can get a small core of parents who are interested, I will then reach out to my connections in the media and a few of the local Rabbis that I have connections with and see if I can get them on board and to push the idea as an alternative for those who simply cannot afford to carry the burden of yeshiva tuition any longer. I know this idea sounds radical at first, but just remember, this is how things were done for many, many years before the yeshiva day school system took off (and took all our money). Of course, an afternoon Talmud Torah program would be a must and there are already some options in town that should work. More details to follow. And no, I don't plan on remaining anonymous much longer (to those who were going to criticize me for that).

More details to follow over the next few weeks.

Charlie Hall said...

I know many frum people who went to public school and talmud torah. But the talmud torahs were real houses of learning, with the same teachers as the full day yeshivot, with the same material (only less of it).

Dovid said...

Charlie - And why are you assuming the same thing can't be replicated in Bergen County. I know some of the top Rebbeim at YNJ, Noam, and Yavneh. Trust me, the Talmud torah part of the equation will be easy. It will be convincing parents to consider public school and think a little outside of the box that will be our biggest hurdle.

GilaB said...

I'd think there are other issues that you might want to discuss with the principal, aside from food/kashrus. Most notable is the calendar, both in terms of Shabbos (when does school get out on Friday) and holidays (it's a lot of days to miss, and there needs to be a way for the children to make up the work and not be penalized either beaurocratically or by lost knowledge). I don't have kids, and can't think of other issues off the top of my head, assuming that you are not going to be bothered by Young Earth Creationism not being taught in schools, different standards of dress, etc., but I'm sure other people can.

Anonymous said...

Another issue to consider with public school is how you feel about sex ed. Depending on the state you live in there is a good chance that your children will be getting a class in sixth grade telling them how to use condoms.

Also, for those whose girls do not wear pants, you will have to figure out how to handle gym class.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:37am - What you're doing takes a lot of courage and I hope it works out well. I've got several questions that I'm wondering if you can answer.

Thank you. Most of the courage has been on the part of my wife, I am more the type to just "go along with things as usual". I will try to answer to the best of my ability.

1) Before you moved your kids to the charter school, did you discuss your financial situation with the school, and did the school offer any assistance?

We did not discuss anything with the school. I refuse to share my financial information with my friends and neighbors, it's none of their business, and besides, it's a bad practice and can often lead to problems.

2) Did any Rabbi/Teacher attempt to dissuade you from going the charter route?

Of course they did. That's [part of] their job. There wasn't much time however as the school only formed a few weeks before the school year started, and we only decided at that time.

3)Do your kids have any additional after school judaic studies programs.

Other than periodic discussions with my wife and I, no. This is probably the biggest problem with our plan right now.

Mark

Miami Al said...

A few things to consider... if it is a Hebrew charter instead of a generic public school, while it isn't religious per se, you should have a more religious-friendly environment. i.e. the school may be open on Sukkot, but they might informally not do tests on Yomim Tovim.

Many public school systems are closed 1 day for Rosh Hashana and 1 day for Yom Kippur. Also, depending on your spring break schedule, if it is the week before or after Easter (most popular weeks) you generally get either the first or second days of Pesach. Shavuot falls out over summer break.

Net-Net, your kids will miss 1 day for Rosh Hashana (which plenty of non-Orthodox kids take off, schools with large Jewish populations accommodate anyways), 4 days for Sukkot, and 2 days for Pesach. Even if none of these are on Shabbat OR Sunday, thats only 7 days, and as religious holidays, they should be excused. Most public school days end around the time that the Day Schools let out on Fridays, so shouldn't be a problem.

Gym? Find skorts, there is no reason to turn feminine modesty into a way of controlling women.

Sex-ed? Opt out if it is a graphic class. It's not a "hot to have sex class," it's understanding human sexuality.

It's not the 1950s, schools today accommodate all sorts of religious circumstances.

Do you have to make SOME effort to be a minority, sure, but you also have to make SOME effort to come up with $45k/year in tuition.

Anonymous said...

Mike S - How many Teaneck/Bergenfield parents are prepared to enroll their children in public school for the 2010-11 school year? I am prepared if I can find 20 families to join me.

My wife and I tried very hard to get others in the neighborhood to join us. Very few have even considered it, and even fewer have actually done it (I think 3 families in addition to ours). This was both out of self-interest (easier carpools, friends, even a bus if we reach critical mass) and mainly because we truly believe it is the right thing to do for a community that devotes far more resources than it can afford towards schools. I see our communities careening towards financial disaster, it's no wonder that Modern Orthodox people are disappearing, either becoming RW Orthodox or Conservadox/Conservative.

Mark

Anonymous said...

Miami Al - Net-Net, your kids will miss 1 day for Rosh Hashana (which plenty of non-Orthodox kids take off, schools with large Jewish populations accommodate anyways), 4 days for Sukkot, and 2 days for Pesach. Even if none of these are on Shabbat OR Sunday, thats only 7 days, and as religious holidays, they should be excused. Most public school days end around the time that the Day Schools let out on Fridays, so shouldn't be a problem.

This year is particularly good as spring break comes out exactly during Pesach, the kids have to miss exactly 1 day for Pesach. Fridays are no problem at all. IN our case, b"h, we are quite lucky that all our children are very good students and missing a few days here and there won't affect them very much.

Gym? Find skorts, there is no reason to turn feminine modesty into a way of controlling women.

My daughters wear skirts/dresses every day because the school has a uniform (which as far as I know does not include trousers for the girls). Our 5'th grader has no problem with PE class in a skirt (and is, in fact, the fastest runner in her class!).

Sex-ed? Opt out if it is a graphic class. It's not a "hot to have sex class," it's understanding human sexuality.

Nothing wrong with education about human sexuality. I hardly think there will be too much taught there that I or my wife wouldn't answer given a question about it.

It's not the 1950s, schools today accommodate all sorts of religious circumstances.

Especially when 80-90% of the student body is Jewish, and 20-30% are Orthodox! I'm guessing at these numbers, but they seem roughly accurate to me.

Do you have to make SOME effort to be a minority, sure, but you also have to make SOME effort to come up with $45k/year in tuition.

And in a year and a half when our youngest 2 children will enter 1'st grade, it would be $75k. That's crazy, utter insanity.

Mark

aml said...

We took a long, hard look at our finances, our lifestyle, our future earning potential and our goals for our family and decided, with a heavy hearts, that we could either put our kids in day school for elementary school OR for middle/high school- but not both, not realistically. After months and months of talking/arguing, we decided to put our oldest son (who started kindergarten this year) in the best charter school we could get him into (there are no Hebrew charter schools in our area). Our top choice had three spaces, 53 applicants, and was a lottery. Our son was the third name drawn.

It’s been a bit of a scary process to take on the responsibility for his Jewish education. Can we handle this? Are we even qualified to handle this? I did a survey of JDS kindergarten curriculum online and found two common goals throughout: (1) Hebrew literacy (at an appropriate level for kindergartners) and (2) love of Judaism. So here’s what we’re doing:

Hebrew Literacy
~DH is Israeli and speaks Hebrew to our boys. Our oldest son’s comprehension and speaking are appropriate for his age. And he speaks, reads, and comprehends better than our friends’ kids who are in JDS who don’t have a native Hebrew speaker at home.

~He takes a weekly Hebrew class at the local JCC where they reinforce Hebrew letters and we practice letters at home through workbooks and flashcards.
~The media in our home is about 75% Hebrew (DVDs and CDs).

Love of Judaism
~DH davens (prays) each morning (except Shabbat) with both boys. He davens with a siddur (prayer book) with the purpose of not memorizing the prayers, but learning how to read them (following along in the siddur at this point).

~I read a story of the weekly parsha (Torah Portion) with them several times a week and drill them about it throughout the week. My goal is that they should know the name of the parsha and at least three things about it each week. I also connect the parsha from one week to the next so that there is come continuum in their minds

~We make great use of resources such as our shul (synagogue) for Shabbat (the Sabbath) and holidays, the JCC for summer and winter camps, and Jewish sports leagues. Our hope is that these will begin to concretize a sense community in their minds.

~As they get older, DH, who spent five years in Hesder and another year in kollel before we got married, will be their havruta.

Halloween was a problem and we did keep our oldest home one day when all the kids dressed up. We were sure that X-mas would be a problem, but with Hanukah so early this year, our son and the other Jewish kids at his school had clear bragging rights. Our son was thrilled to share his experiences of eight days of food and fun with his peers and his school and teachers encouraged him to do so.

Next year, when our younger son joins the charter school, we will be tuition-free- for a while any way (right now we pay about $1300/month for fulltime, Jewish preschool for him). We’ll be able to start putting money away for their middle/high JDS experience.

Thankfully we both have decent-paying jobs for our area and we have been putting away 12% per year for retirement. I work at a university and my benefits include tuition for children (we have a reciprocal agreements with a list of other universities around the country); the pressure to save for college is off as this is an excellent benefit and one of the reasons I stay in my job.

So, will this work? I don’t know. We don’t know id everything will be OK. We’re not even sure how to quantify “OK.” We’re just doing the best we can for our family and that’s all anyone can ask.

No, I am not a troll-I want to know said...

Just wondering why no one is jumping down aml's throat about a job that includes free college tuition. Haven't there been a lot of complaints on this blog about teachers and other employees getting free tuition at Jewish Day Schools and how we are all subsidizing those tuitions? Why is a job at a college any different? Aren't the full-tuition paying students subsidizing the students who go for free? What is what she's doing okay?

To Not a Troll said...

Good point. Actually, many who decry the cost of higher education do have problems with all of the excesses at many universities and colleges, including overpaid faculty and administration, bloated administration and the free tuition perk. You just aren't on those boards. I think, however, that percentage wise and the effect that it has on other student's tuition is probably much greater at jewish day schools than elsewhere.

aml said...

Awww. Please jump. I'd love to hear it. The difference though is, I have to put in several years of service to get the benefit. For every five years of service, they knock off a percentage of the tuition. If I put in 15 years, the tuition is (almost) free. Thankfully, my kids are young so I'll easily make the 15 years before they're ready to enroll.

Its quite nice and is truly helpful with employee retention (unlike other tuition remission programs that don't require minimum service). The longer I stick around, the better the benefits become.

Shevy said...

Alan, did you really mean this?

For example we must demand an end to:
(snip)
having some children learn hebrew subjects in the afternoon and english in the morning as this will drastically cut down on the payroll

I think perhaps you mean that they *should* switch to some classes doing Hebrew in the afternoon, English in the morning and the others doing it *in reverse*, so as to require half the number of teachers.

I also found the following comment to be over the top to the point of being rude:

quite frankly I don't even want to see you put meat in your chulent

We generally have things like pasta, soup or eggs on toast for dinner during the week and buy a couple of dollars worth of deli ends (the bits that are too small to slice up) to make cholent out of for Shabbos. I hope that is okay with you and not too extravagent.

And, as for Mark commenting that his full tuition is currently $45k and would go up to $75k when the 2 youngest children enter school, that is incomprehensible to me. Our family makes less than $75k per year, total.

Anonymous said...

Shevy - Our family makes less than $75k per year, total.

Then you can't be a Modern Orthodox Jew :-)

Shavuah Tov everyone.

Mark

Anonymous said...

Rabbi Dr. - Just regarding the Eshel comment. The truth is this is a medrash chazal, so I don't think it should be termed nonsense. It is recorded by the Chafetz Chaim in his classic work Ahavat Chessed. I don't think he thought it was nonsense. There are many statements in Chazal that make generalized declarations about the consequences of certain sins that do not correspond to our experience. I think we should study deeper and try to understand what Chazal were trying to say rather than arrogantly declaring their words nonsense and patting ourselves on the back that we know better.
That being said, it happens to be that I know of three instances in which this very thing happened. One of them happened to me. So I would hesitate before even questioning the literal veracity of this particular statement. However, if you want to, fine. Just realize there's something deeper there as well.
As far as children go- well that's an old dispute amongst the pedagogues. How much midrash should be taught at that young age. The Traditional approach has always been to teach it young and hopefully as they get older their thinking will get more mature and they'll appreciate the greater meaning. Of course, that often doesn't happen.


Continued here - http://dovbear.blogspot.com/2010/01/aishel-errors.html

Mark

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