Elana Sztokman's JewFem blog

Elana Maryles Sztokman, PhD, writer, researcher, educator and activist, writing on issues pertaining to gender and Jewish life in Israel and around the world.

Adolescents trying to talk to God: On discipline and prayer in school

When my fifteen-year old daughter, Avigayil, came home with detention for skipping morning prayer, I was devastated. It wasn’t just that in her pluralistic community school, where there are supposedly choices for everyone, I did not think detention for missing prayer was a possibility. It was not just that the angry note from the principal came without warning, without even a prior phone conversation to discuss my daughter’s spirituality or attendance record. What shocked me most was the newfound knowledge that Avigayil had no interest in prayer at school. If the people of our synagogue got wind of this, I thought, they would undoubtedly say, the principal must have the wrong kid.

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