Overcoming hatred for Jews
June 21, 2019
As a youngster said to her mother, “Why am I called a dirty Jew? I shower everyday.”
I am a Jew who has helped many children. Let me introduce myself. I am Elaine. I was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey to Jewish parents. My background is all Jewish. All my great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents were Jewish.
I went to an all-girl public high school. The town fathers tried to decrease teen pregnancy by having an all-girls high school and all-boys high school. Mine was a glorious same-sex high school. We were everything: a class president, a black vice president, editor and class members of the school administration council.
After high school, I entered state college at New Jersey. The tuition was $50. I had a scholarship. Room and board was $18.50 week. I worked in the cafeteria two meals to cover this cost. This job helped me pay my room and board. In September, I began working in a kindergarten class in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and also taught first grade.
In Brooklyn, I substituted for a few years. I was assigned to sub in a CRMD—children with retarded development. I was apprehensive since I had never had contact with special needs children. Much to my pleasure, we got along well. When they met me in the halls, they hugged me. Even the male youngster who was quite tall would hug me and look down and smile.
When my children were born, I stayed home for 10 years so I could have the pleasure of seeing my sons take their first steps and say first words. I went back to substituting and worked in preschool special education. Children with special needs from three to five years old, were just starting to have education fully funded with no charge to parents.
At one point, I saw the need for these programs, as few programs were available. I approached my friend, and suggested we open a school for these children. She was agreeable. We bought a building that had been a funeral home and a bank. It was perfect. It had a needed space for two classes, a required yard, and rooms for giving therapy.
We opened with 10 children, a teacher, two teacher aides, and a speech and language therapist.
One problem came a month after we opened. At three o’clock in the afternoon the doorbell rang and I found someone who identified himself as an inspector of the department of health. I was operating an unlicensed daycare. We could only take 10 children until our license was granted. My partner’s husband was a strong but quiet person. He went to the department of health and asked to see the director. They kept telling him she was busy and he could see someone else. He said, “No, I will wait for her.” Finally she saw him. He explained our situation: We had children certified to attend, but could not until we received certification. She phoned the person who was in charge of viewing our application. The director asked where was our application. She replied it was sitting on her desk. She told her to review the application and if all was correct to grant us a license. The inspector was upset with us for going over her jurisdiction. “You better make sure you cross your t’s and dot your I’s.”
Later she became our friend and was pleased with our school. We expanded rapidly. In 10 years we had 200 children, 60 in staff, and over a two million dollar budget. We had an excellent reputation. Our children made wonderful progress because of the caring, kind staff who helped the children reach their potential. They came to us not able to walk, talk or accomplish a task.
We were so proud of their progress. Sixty-five percent of the children went into regular classes, some with services.
After 11 years, we had to close. There were many new regulations, and as a single agency we had no way to satisfy government requirements. I cried for many years. Although I was retirement age, I did not want to retire.
How many people, Jewish or gentile, could have the accomplishments, I have had? Do haters of the Jewish people still hate me? If they had a special needs child wouldn’t they welcome having their child in a program like ours?
I know that it is a small percentage of people who openly hate Jews. I ask that they cease and desist their hatred and realize the good Jews have done.
There are doctors, lawyers, physicians, and business people who have willingly helped people regardless of their ethnicity. Jew’s have always been family and education oriented. We have kept to the teaching of the Torah, “Love they neighbor as thy self.” Despite the Arabs’ hatred, Israel will not be pushed into the ocean. Hopefully our antagonists will accept Jews.
My prayer is for peace and no more killings in synagogues or elsewhere. Let’s stop these horrible incidence such as Pittsburgh and recognize each other with love rather than hate.