2009-05-01 / Columnists

Point of View

"The Rabbi's Personal Column" Rabbi Allan Blaine Temple Beth-El, Rockaway Park

A problem arose a number of years ago at a prominent, private school. It decided to eliminate any celebration of Mother's Day because of the diversity of family structures which the school population represented. The thinking was not to hurt anyone. I believe it was a mistake. Mother's Day should be an occasion to honor all involved in mothering a child. Sometimes children come from single parent homes. In others, grandparents are primary caregivers; at times aunts or other members of the family. All women should be brought into the network of those who are being honored on Mother's Day. A Jewish woman is a mother in Israel if not biologically than in every other sense.

Political correctness has its drawbacks. In this case not only poor public relations but poor educational techniques. The nuclear family dating back to Biblical times consisted of a mother and a father. Civilization, culture and morality are dependent in many respects on the nuclear family. It is unfortunate that in many families today there are sometimes neither fathers nor mothers. A scholar on the subject, Blankenhorn has written a book called, "Fatherless In America" about the problem of the disappearing father. Indeed there are families where there is no mother present, such as in male same-sex relationships. Because of the high divorce rate today, there are families in which a child is confused by a plethora of mothers since the father has married numerous times, or a number of different fathers. How to relate to each and every one of them can become a complex, difficult and disturbing problem for the child. The complexity of family structure today calls for sensitivity on the part of an educator. Erasing, "Mother's Day" and all that it implies from society is not the answer to diversity. A little more creativity on the part of the teacher in preparing for Mother's/Father's Day should be an important part of the methodology of a school curriculum.

Is seeking the lowest common denominator for purposes of political correctness the best approach for a changing society? Life never satisfies everyone because life is unfair. Our hearts go out especially to children who face difficult family situations through loss or divorce or social changes. Erasing Mother's/ Father's Day from the calendar is not the answer. Children are too smart for this. Why turn love for father, mother and family into a political brouhaha? Let us continue to honor those who love, protect and nurture us. Happy Mother's Day!
Come celebrate
Mother's Day (Women's Day)
Temple Beth-El
at Sabbath Services on
Saturday, May 9, 2009, at 9:00 a.m.
(201 Beach 121 Street).
Every woman present receives a flower.
A special presentation entitled,
"I Remember Mama" will take place.

Continuing Adult Education Classes: A Yiddish Vinkl (Corner) beginning Monday, May 4th, at 10:00 a.m. at Temple Beth-El for those who speak Yiddish or would like to enjoy the warmth, wit and wisdom of this thousand year-old language - All Welcome..No Charge

(This page comes through the generosity of the Arlene Topal Creative Arts Fund

of Temple Beth-El. Dedicated to educating children in the Judaic Tradition)

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