Memory Lane: Out of School for ‘Religious Instruction’

Image result for images of hebrew school textbook

Before “Diversity” became a shibboleth, and a not-so-subtle way of sneaking around the Constitution’s prohibition of religious tests, we actually had something like real diversity in our sixth-grade classroom.

Back then, you could be excused from school to attend “religious instruction.” The Catholic kids got out early on Friday afternoons. I don’t remember when the Jewish kids got out. As a Protestant kid, I didn’t get out at all. We had nothing called “religious instruction”–we just had Sunday school. On Sunday.

I was jealous of the Catholic kids, because as far as I could tell, there was nothing that made them any different from us Protestants, except that they had to have fish on Fridays. Why should they get a break from that stalag known as Franklin School?

But the Jewish kids went to Hebrew School, and that was a lot more interesting! Neil Katz, who sat in the desk behind mine, used to let me leaf through his Hebrew book–which of course I could not read, because it was in Hebrew. I did know it had something to do with the Bible. There was something very cool about this.

And if there were any more exotic religious traditions represented by anyone in our class, the subject just never came up. I wouldn’t have known about it, if there were.

It’s only when “Diversity” is insisted upon from above that it begins to shrivel down below.

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

4 responses to “Memory Lane: Out of School for ‘Religious Instruction’

  • UnKnowable

    It’s amazing how the word “diversity” has been hijacked to mean doing what we tell you, instead of meaning actual diversity. There were Catholic kids in the schools I went to, probably 1/3 of the students, in some cases.

    I can’t say that I can specifically remember any Jewish kids in any of my classes, but I doubt that I would have noticed. There were Jewish families in the community and I don’t recall anyone making a fuss about them either way. I imagine that somewhere along the lines, some of my classmates hustled off to Hebrew School as soon as regular school was out for the day.

    There were Catholic schools in the area and I recall seeing little girls all dressed alike. For some reason, I don’t remember anything outstanding about what the boys were wearing; maybe their uniforms were blue jeans and T shirts. 🙂 I once worked in a place that was near a Catholic school and recall seeing children in uniform out on the playground, doing calisthenics, led by a nun wearing a habit.

    None of the examples above represent my manner of worship, but that’s OK. They can worship as they see fit and don’t require my approval.


  • marlene

    “…used to let me leaf through his Hebrew book–which of course I could not read, because it was in Hebrew” – LOL!!

    Today, it’s criminal for anybody to be the cause of snowflake jealously; so “anybody” must become everybody. The first step in the dissolution of our culture and society – and we’re now way past the first step.


  • David Ingram

    We had religious instruction in our elementary school. Those who wanted to go were led across the street to a Protestant church’s facility where we learned to sing hymns. Some of my friends never went so asked them what they did while we were gone. They said they just drew pictures, so one time I decided not to go to religious release but found just drawing pictures boring. From then on I gladly went on religious release.


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