Lots of my jewish friends ask me why I didn't send Reuben to a jewish school here in Sydney, like Moriah, Masada or Emmanuel.
It was my mother's dearest wish that Reuben go to the most selective school in Sydney, Grammar. I have no idea why. She firmly believed that religious education should come from the home with values love kindness and spirituality and that academics and social behaviour should be learned at school. That's the way she and my father educated my sister and me.
My mother and I took Reuben to the testing phase of the entrance process for Sydney Grammar School. It was 3 hours and consisted of a number of psychometric tests that were apparently 'standardised' to this day I have no idea what they did in that room.
A few months passed and so did my mother. Very suddenly. We were devastated and still are. My mother was the centre of our family and the glue that kept us together.
A month after her death as my father emerged from mourning, we received a letter and a phone call that Reuben was accepted and we had to attend an interview with the headmaster at Sydney Grammar. I had talked to my father about the possibility of this happening. I was actually opposed to sending Reuben to this school as it did not align with my view of what schooling should be - an open and normalising experience, especially at the age of 5. But my father said emphatically "If he gets in, he should go. It was your mother's wish".
And so he went. I cant help thinking that although I am doing the thing that my parents wished for my son, I am not doing the best thing for him. He is struggling academically (at 5!) as the class is the brightest they have seen for some time, but now is not the time in his little life to change his circle of friends and give him instability. I think I could have honoured my parent's wishes in a different way and still have done the right thing for everyone. It's such a delicate balance.