Won Ton or Kreplach? How We Raise Children in Our Chinese-Jewish Family

Written by Jack Botwinik


I always knew my Oriental wife was Jewish; after all, she grew up eating Chinese food!

I grew up in a Jewish neighbourhood of Montreal. My mother is Sephardic Italian and my father is a Holocaust survivor from Poland. I speak Italian with my mother and Yiddish with my father and siblings. My wife, Belinda Cheung, was born and raised in Hong Kong and came to Canada when she was 17.

I married Belinda in 1999. Our marriage has been working wonderfully well. Despite our cultural differences, our worldviews and approaches to life are remarkably identical. We are busy raising our two young children, and our lives are meaningful and fulfilling.

Picture frames reflecting both Chinese and Jewish influences adorn our home. We are keen on learning about each other's culture. We make a point to learn each other's languages through tapes and books. Although we are both fully fluent in English, my wife chooses to speak Cantonese to our children, and I speak Yiddish. Between us, we converse in English. Our children identify with their Yiddish and Chinese names, in addition to their English names. Our elder son, Asher (age 3), seems to handlerepparttar different languages well. We make an effort to be consistent in our use of languages with our children. We expose them to both Chinese and Jewish games, as well as Chinese, Yiddish, Hebrew and English books, songs and videos.

With an Italian mother and a Chinese wife, I am likely one ofrepparttar 148010 most well-fed guys on earth! On Sabbath, my wife often makes "Chinese cholent," which I thoroughly enjoy. She shops for Chinese mushrooms, lotus seeds, ginseng and various kinds of Chinese fruits and vegetables in Chinatown. I take pleasure in preparing Italian dishes, and we both like Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine. One time, my mother-in-law assisted with cooking, and we all had an authentic Chinese meal on Friday night. It was a delightful evening and a pleasant cultural shock to my parents. Using chopsticks is still a challenge for me, but it only makes life more interesting!

I am fascinated with Chinese history, language and culture. Belinda's roots are almost as important to me as my own. I am constantly looking for ways to infuse more Chinese culture into our lives. Even my favourite ties display ancient Chinese scripts and I often wear them on Sabbath. The Chinese andrepparttar 148011 Jews have a lot in common in their ethical teachings.

We keep a kosher diet and celebrate all Jewish holidays, includingrepparttar 148012 holy Sabbath. We are grateful that my parents, my Chinese in-laws, as well as our secular relatives and friends, are respectful of our Jewish observances. My brother-in-law, who is Protestant, had joined us on several occasions and experienced Sabbath and Sukkot (Festival of Booths), and even had a taste of matzah on Passover. We give lai-si (red packets containing money, decorated with characters and drawings symbolizing luck and wealth) to our children on Chinese New Year.We may catch a dragon boat race duringrepparttar 148013 Dragon Boat Festival, or play with Chinese lanterns aroundrepparttar 148014 August Moon Festival. When we are sick, we seek medical treatment and advice from both Chinese and Western doctors. Last year I hadrepparttar 148015 opportunity to meet many of my wife's relatives and childhood friends in Hong Kong, as well as to visit her schools and converse with her former teachers. Belinda also enjoyed meeting my aunts and cousins in Rome. These experiences are very special and memorable to us.

Why Public Schools Hate Home-Schooling Parents

Written by Joel Turtel


Home-schooling is a great success. Thatís why many public-school authorities hate home-schooling parents.

Home-schoolers are a direct challenge torepparttar public-school monopoly. This monopoly makes it almost impossible to fire tenured public-school teachers or principals. As a result, tenure gives most teachers life-time guaranteed jobs. They get this incredible benefit only because public schools have a lock on our childrenís education.

If public-school employees had to work for private schools and compete for their jobs inrepparttar 148009 real world, they would lose their security-blanket tenure. Thatís why school authorities view home-schooling parents who challenge their monopoly as a serious threat.

Many school officials also canít standrepparttar 148010 fact that average parents who never went to college give their kids a better education than so-called public-school experts. Successful home-schooling parents therefore humiliaterepparttar 148011 failed public schools by comparison.

Home-schooling parents also humiliate school authorities who claim that only certified or licensed teachers are qualified to teach children. Most home-schooling parents thankfully never stepped foot inside a so-called teacher college or university department of education. Yet these parents give their children a superior education compared to public-school educated kids.

Also, many public-school officials resent home-schoolers becauserepparttar 148012 typical public school loses about $7500 a year in tax money for each child that leavesrepparttar 148013 system. Tax money isrepparttar 148014 life blood ofrepparttar 148015 public-school system. Tax money pays for public-school employeesí generous salaries, benefits, and pensions. Is it any wonder why school authorities donít want to lose their gravy train?

For these reasons, until fairly recently, most state legislatures either outlawed homeschooling or tried to strangle it to death with regulations. In 1980, only Utah, Ohio, and Nevada officially recognized parentsí rights to homeschool their children. In most other states, legislators continually harassed or prosecuted home-schoolers under criminal truancy laws and educational neglect charges.

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