Miriam Miedzinski
Miriam Miedzinski

To My Daughters’ Principal

To the Principal of My Daughters’ School

In the Hareidi world there are not many like you.

You are a rarity. You are rare in your perspective on education as a whole and in your attitude towards those you educate.

That is why we chose to send our girls to your school a year ago.

You’ve been crowned the title of “controversial” which signifies actually thinking and doing something that others thought was impossible.

Be proud, that term, while not endearing, is a trophy you should cherish.

It means you are making a difference.

I know that term well for far different reasons.

You choose to provide top notch education to Bais Yaakov girls. You choose to not stand for mediocrity. You choose to prove to the Hareidi world that our young women can and should be educated well, not just educated. You show the world our daughters’ true potential and the heights they can reach.

You do all of this without sacrificing their values religiously, traditionally, or spiritually.

It has amazed so many.

 It has scared so many.

You are a pioneer in the world of Hareidi education. I am sure that that alone already comes with critique and judgment. It also comes with awe. There will always be those afraid of something new, afraid we are exposing our precious girls too much. Yet, you have led this path and built a school that other principals are envious of, that’s admired by students and faculty, and that has an endless waiting list of future students desperate to partake.

It’s for those reasons that I am not shocked at your incredible way of handling our unique situation!

It is amazing enough to have built the educational empire you have built and to have broken down so many educational barriers along the way. But to also have to navigate the complicated journey with your students, my daughters, who have a mother who lives a life that is so drastically different from the life you encourage our daughters to live.

You have proven yourself again. I write this letter with tears in my eyes as I thank you.

Thank you for seeing the target. The target is educating and loving the girls in your school. The target is not worrying about what people think, pleasing the influential parent body, or making sure you are not associated with anything complicated.

The real target can never be achieved by putting down people for being different or making children feel they are not good enough.

The children are what matter most.

Not the parents, not the reputation, not the Rabbis, but the children.

It’s not easy. Those things are all there and need to be dealt with wisely and tended to, but you have made it clear that the main priority to you as principal is your students.

Now, I know you do not “approve” of my life. I know you do not “support” it. I know that it brings challenges to my children and to you and their educational system.

What you have chosen to make clear to me again and again, in words and in actions over the last two years is that you don’t care how I live my life, you just want to make sure that my kids do well.

You acknowledge that no matter my lifestyle, I am their mother and I always will be.

That children need their mother, no matter her differences.

I have made things hard for you, you had to answer to others who asked “why are her kids in our school?”

And your answer was, “this woman is not our student, her children are our students.”

You carry a sense of devotion and responsibility that so many would have easily thrown away and claimed that it was done for the most appropriate and holiest of reasons.

Other institutions would have asked that we find a new school.

You know that an educational system that hurts children by kicking them out because their mom is a lesbian, is simply giving up and incorrect.

Most likely, Hareidi institutions are usually not equipped to handle a situation so drastically different from the stories they have faced before.  I don’t think that is an excuse but if one doesn’t have the tools, then they simply can’t be expected to do what’s right.  I get it.  Its sad, but I get it.

How would they know how to handle something they have never handled before?

You have the tools because you made sure to find them, learn them, study them and then use them for the sake of my children’s success.  That is what a true educator does.

A true educator doesn’t give up, they fight for their student’s success.

There should not be a “too hard basket”, or “unspoken topics”, or “far too uncomfortable decisions”.

There should be challenges and solutions.

While I am writing about my own awe in how your school operated in general and how you specifically have devoted your self to keeping my girls loved, safe and growing-

I have to talk about who is most impressed by your amazing work and effort, my girls.

They see it.

They can see that you embrace challenges and that you have not allowed any of it to affect how you interact with them.

You don’t stare at them, and you don’t treat them like the “poor little girls”. You treat them the way they should be treated, like everyone else.

They have loved your offers for them to speak their mind with you, teachers and school therapists, and they love your ability to look them in the eyes with pride.  They know their life is complicated, but you have taught them that no complication can get in their way of success.

That is a lesson they will carry forever.

I will carry my gratitude forever.

The example you set will be respected and looked up to, forever.

And one day when my children are grown up and have their own children, they will remember their Bais Yaakov Principal who instead of pulling away their life ring when they needed it the most, because it was to overwhelming and controversial, instead, threw them an entire life boat filled with everything they could have needed to be not just ok, but great.

Sincerely

Miriam

About the Author
Miriam is a U.S.-born Israeli therapist and psychologist specializing in trauma work, who speaks to women worldwide, and gives workshops around the country on the importance of mental resilience. She is amicably divorced with five children and is the Founder of United Hatzalah's Psychotrauma and Crisis Response Unit that provides psychological first aid at the scenes of medical emergencies. She was the recipient of the Bonei Zion prize for young leadership in Israel in 2018. Following her divorce, she left the Ultra-Orthodox community of Jerusalem and is now living in Tel Aviv with her girlfriend, Nikki.
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