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Dear Debra: I never imagined sending our children to day school. But as I have studied more and brought more Jewish traditions into our home, day school seems like a natural step. My wife is strongly opposed to the idea, and it’s causing a lot of tension between us. Our first child begins kindergarten next year. How can we resolve this? Day School Dad
So often it’s one parent for, one parent against. You will stand a better chance if you can bring your wife around gently, respectfully and lovingly.
You don’t mention her reactions to the Jewish study and traditions you have brought home. Has she been a willing and equal partner? Or has it all been imposed upon her? If the latter, day school may be her way of telling you no more accommodations to this new Jew-y you.
Listen closely to her objections. Are they financial? Does she fear the children knowing more than she does? Will the carpooling fall entirely to her? Perhaps you and she can talk to a day school family who struggled with the issue you two are now. How can you meet her halfway or more than halfway if necessary?
Day school can provide unparalleled depth of Jewish learning and experience. But there are other ways to steep children in Jewish values, learning and rhythms. If your wife will not relent, continue enriching your family’s Jewish home traditions. When the children are old enough, there are many fine Jewish summer camps, locally and nationwide.
Loving agreement is paramount, for it teaches another important Jewish value — shalom bayit (peace within the home).
Dear Debra: Wanting to be inclusive, I emailed my future mother-in-law a photo I took of myself in the bridal salon modeling my wedding dress. She went and posted it on her Facebook page. Now everyone knows what my dress looks like, even my fiance. I am furious at the liberty she took. My fiance doesn’t think it’s a big deal, he says I look beautiful; but I think it was a huge invasion of privacy. What can I do? Wedding Belle Blues
All manner of retribution and veiled threats come to mind, including telling her you’ve chosen chartreuse as your color. Even in an age where Facebook has made privacy as quaint as rotary dial phones, your future mother-in-law indeed crossed the sharing line.
The next time you are together, take her aside and let her know that while you appreciate her excitement, she stole your thunder. Be forewarned, however, a woman this lacking in wedding etiquette may not understand the transgression.
If you truly don’t want anyone to know about your dress, and you haven’t paid for the one mom-in-law posted, you could always keep looking. But if it’s the dress of your dreams and you’ve already put it on the plastic, remember that a snapshot in the dressing room will in no way compare to the glow you will radiate on your wedding day. And, take note, when you and hubby are expecting, curb your enthusiasm.
Dear Debra: Our daughter is graduating from high school this spring. We want to throw a graduation party in her honor, but she says she doesn’t want one. We have always celebrated milestones in the extended family and can’t understand why she is being so difficult. Burst Balloon
Not everyone parties hearty; this is not always a bad thing. (Think Animal House). If yours is a large and very social family, and your daughter is more on the shy side, the idea of a big graduation bash may be unnerving. Have you asked her how she would like to celebrate this milestone? Perhaps she’d prefer a quiet dinner at a restaurant with a few close friends. Or maybe a small family gathering. You are right to want to honor her achievement. Just be sure that the honoree, your daughter, feels celebrated — not steamrolled.
A successful author and blogger, Debra Darvick is Red Thread’s new advice columnist. The author of This Jewish Life: Stories of Discovery, Connection and Joy and I love Jewish faces, Darvick shares her unique take on life, books and more at debradarvick.com.