Hanging Out in the Briar Patch of Marriage

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It was suggested by a colleague on the other side of the office that Red Thread consider offering a “bridal” book for February as it was one of our predecessor’s most popular issues.

Photo by Kelly Victor

While my personal interest in that subject ended several years ago — (on Feb. 9, 2003, to be exact …happy anniversary, Choney) — people are always getting married.

And, lest we forget, February is traditionally known as the month of love (homage to Cupid). So, after some collective brainstorming, we thought of various bridal-related stories that only Red Thread could present.

First, we asked Julie Edgar to spend some time in marriage’s briar patch, that thorny place where reality meets the conclusion of the “honeymoon phase.”

And, since we’re already knee-deep in thorns, we asked Robin Schwartz to shine a light on a dander-raising issue: gay marriage. (OK, settle down, we didn’t just yell “fire” in a crowded theater — it is the 21st century.)

Finally, for those in the midst of planning nuptials, Lynne Konstantin swooped in to help — and suggests you scrap the whole “marriage on the beach” thing because getting “Married in Motown” is pretty hot, too.

DAY SCHOOLS AND TURF WARS

I’ve spilled a lot of ink espousing the virtues of a unified effort when confronting the obstacles waiting for us — demography and opportunity, specifically — but, digging deeper, the underbelly of our community also needs some attention: religious stratification.

In addition to my “day job,” I am active in lay organizations at my kids’ schools. At my oldest daughter’s school, I am the president of the Parent Teacher Association (yes, I broke through that glass ceiling); and at my younger kids’ school, I sit on an advisory committee for the director of admissions.

While markedly different, they both are Hebrew day schools with a similar mission: provide the best religious and secular education possible. A tertiary objective for each is to impart religious conviction, and this is where their distinctions become better defined.

Both are excellent institutions that have my shared allegiance; I am proud to represent each in different capacities. And therein lies the problem. While I make little distinction to “turf,” not all parents — or members of the community — feel the same way.

I was castigated by a few parents for mentioning an event for one school but not a similar program for the other. Regrettably, I wasn’t aware of the second event until the criticism started rolling in — otherwise I certainly would have mentioned both.

And, frankly, the premise of their argument (supporting one school over the other) is unreasonable. I clearly have vested interests in both — if not all — day schools succeeding and increasing their enrollment numbers.

If a rising tide carries all ships, then should one school (or shul, or sect) be more “worthy” of attention? I don’t agree with the supposition that helping one requires not helping the other — certainly not in the realm of education — but generally across the board. We are one community.

That my integrity was called into question because I demonstrated support for a “competing” school is absurd. I hope Akiva, Darchei Torah, Hillel, Yeshiva Beth Yehudah, et al., each have banner years ahead.

We hope the secular humanist and the haredi (ultra- Orthodox) alike demonstrate support for Jewish educational opportunities in Detroit. It’s for all of our benefi t. Good day schools make good neighborhoods — and it’s attractive to those who are considering moving here.

And, to quote history’s most famous Jewish carpenter, “Any house divided against itself will not stand.”

FINALLY, AT LAST AND HALLELUJAH

At 12:01 a.m., on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011, it became official: redthreadmagazine.com went live. Like most
anything in the media-sphere, its launch crept a little too close to deadline. But, like a well-crafted Hollywood script, it appeared on my computer screen — when it was supposed to — and on time.

Because we took some time to think about how to best present ourselves online, and what it means to interface with the world of social media, we also launched our revamped Facebook page. Go online (and to Facebook) to see if it was worth the wait.

And, tell your childhood friends who moved away to visit us — and “like us” on Facebook — so they can stay connected; and possibly join us back home one day.

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