On the day before my first-grader’s siddur party to celebrate receiving her first prayer-book, she brought a note home from school. The teacher had written the following for my daughter to memorize: “I am honored to invite Mr. RH, head of the local education ministry, to say a few words.” I asked her if she was happy to be chosen. “Why should I be happy?” she said. “YOU should be happy.”
My daughter really was excited about the party. Two years ago, my son got so fed up with rehearsals that he watched the performance with us, in the audience. At his party, they showed film clips of first-grade boys praying in the synagogue. The girls were filmed cleaning the house for Shabbat.
So I got nevous a few weeks before this year’s party when the boys in my daughter’s class were instructed to dress up as different occupations. The girls had to come as mommies, with scarves, hats and “elegant purses.” When my husband complained, the senior first-grade teacher didn’t understand. She asked if my daughter was upset.
In this year’s clip, the boys were carpenters, plumbers, doctors and businessmen while the girls taught, ironed and went to the grocery. At least they had a few businesswomen. The children did their tasks, looked at their watches, and stopped. Afterward the clip showed all the children in shul saying mincha (the afternoon prayer). Having the girls say mincha in shul was rather progessive.
I took loads of pictures to practice, so I could get a a good shot of my daughter introducing the official. But she never got her chance, or I never got mine, because the official never showed up.
At least I was smart enough not to ask whether she was disappointed.