ArchiveApril 2020

A Fifties education: the high school years


On the brink of high school, for the first time there were choices to be made. Either head for the neighborhood institution to which we were zoned and remain safely surrounded by your childhood buddies or take the exam for one of the special high schools. The elite three – Brooklyn Tech, Stuyvesant and Bronx High School of Science had a license to cream the best and the brightest. That choice was...

A Fifties education: the junior high years


By the time I reached junior high, which covered grades 7-9 in New York in the 50s, my sister was in the homestretch of her high school years. Both of us had been placed in special classes in junior high, known in her day as RA (rapid advancement) and in mine as SP (special progress) which maintained and intensified the earlier ability grouping. These programs enabled us to skip our eighth-grade...

A fifties education – Part one


P.S. 189, the school I attended from kindergarten through sixth grade, was a block and a half from my apartment in Brooklyn, two safe street crossings, to be exact. One of them was overseen by members of the School Safety Patrol, replete with silver badges and yellow straps slung rakishly across their bodies like Pancho Villa’s bandoleros. When the light showed red, the guards at each crossing...

The sadness of a virtual seder


In the early 90s, the Dalai Lama invited a delegation of rabbis from various denominations and other Jewish intellectuals to visit him in India. He and his followers had been driven from Tibet into exile by the Chinese Communist government and were struggling with questions of how a people can survive being uprooted from their homeland. This was a subject that Jews knew something about; they had...

Follow Me

Recent Posts