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Important lesson at ex-Jewish school, now Muslim


Happy Roshashanah, tizku l’shanim rabot and Shana Tovah.

By Mary Schmich, Chicago Tribune

On Monday afternoon, Lori Lippitz and her little band of well-wishers pulled into the parking lot of the school they once thought of as theirs.

They came bearing gift baskets — fruit, flowers, nuts, pencils, rulers — and a card that said, “We wish for you and your children many years of love, learning and laughter in the home that is now yours.”

They also came with some trepidation.

How would it feel to walk back into their old Jewish school, which this August had reopened as a Muslim school?

What had happened to their prayer room?

Would the mosaic that told the biblical story of Genesis still be on the wall?

For 34 years, beginning in 1978, the old brick building on Gross Point Road in Skokie had housed Solomon Schechter Day School, which was as much a spiritual haven as a school.

“When it closed,” said Lippitz, whose daughter was a student there, “we felt that something important had ended in our lives.”

But demographics shape destinies, and as some of Skokie’s Jewish residents moved to other suburbs, the school’s enrollment declined. By 2012 what remained of the Skokie school had been consolidated into the Solomon Schechter Day School in Northbrook.

Meanwhile, 21/2 miles away, in Morton Grove, the MCC Full Time School kept growing.

Opened in 1990 with 25 students and a curriculum that emphasizes Islamic studies, MCC had expanded to serve several hundred students. It had a long waiting list.

When the old Schechter school, owned by a Skokie school district, went up for sale at auction, MCC bought it. Now it’s MCC Academy for preschoolers to fifth-graders.

Shortly after news of the purchase got around, Lippitz, a singer who founded the popular Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, ran across an online comment from a Skokie resident responding to the change, a comment that struck her as “unwelcoming and a little xenophobic.”

“The person who put it there probably did not mean to do anything but express sadness at the loss of a Jewish institution,” she said.

Still, she worried.

Who knew, especially given the latest violence in the Middle East, what kind of hostility the school’s new inhabitants might encounter?

“Times of social anxiety and distress are precisely the times when one has to make a point to be seen as welcoming,” she said.

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    • Mehdi

      Aid Mubarak said. And a happy Yom Kippur too…

    • The greenmantle

      Well said ! Indeed Eid Mubarak to everyone .

      Sir David

    • Just_Stopping_By

      And Eid Mubarak to all the Muslims of the World, especially those on LoonWatch (too many to name, and I wouldn’t want to offend any by accidentally overlooking someone).

    • po

      Test. Test . moderator

    • Guess

      I apologize, I don’t have much time to reply at length (I will do so later)

      Sure Solid, no problem take your time, there’s no rush at all. I understand how hard it is with a busy schedule to post anything, let alone lengthy ones. I am myself sorry for this belated response.

      but I am afraid that you are incorrect.

      I don’t think I am incorrect at reminding the already scholarly recognized reality that Zionism is a racist, settler-colonialism ideology. Not only prolonging and making permanent the suffering of the inhabitants of the land of Palestine by extending the already inhumane, racist British colonialism that most lands fortunately managed to get rid-off. But even inflecting upon them the worst form of colonialism – settler-colonialism. That ti’ll this day is ravaging every aspect of Palestinian life.

      But the fact is that also Zionism transformed Palestine and its key cities from being a simple “holy land” to all three ‘Abrahamic’ religions, where world Jewry as well as world Christians and world Muslims could for centuries, and for the most part peacefully, fulfilled their religious-right pilgrimages sanctioned by their respective religions, all the while respecting the indigenous people of the land. To shifting away from those innocent purposes, and advancing the supremacist notion that not only one religious group is superior and is more entitle to freely visit its respective, religious holy sites, while restricting the others. But worst of all, advancing even that said religious group is more superior and more entitle to the land then the inhabitants of the land themselves, by undertaking the racist, settler-colonialist project that I mentioned above that cleaned and dispossessed the indigenous people in order to settle foreign entities in their place.

      I suggest you check my Disqus history which is open for anyone to see. I will get back to you and explain in more detail later.

      Solid, I don’t need to visit your comment history at all. I am familiar with your posts on LW, and I am confident (whether here, or elsewhere) that you sincerely take at heart and support the Palestinian struggle against the settler-colonialist occupation. Therefore if we agree on that point, as far as I’m concern, you don’t need to explain yourself on that front and my objection was never about doubting that.

      My skepticism is mainly due to the fact that sadly and unfortunately there is trend developing among some western Muslims in what could only be described as a crisis within western Muslim politics. One such crisis took place few months back, and just couple of weeks before the colonialist regime launched its latest Gaza mass-massacre, when some “public figure” Muslim individuals and an organization called the Muslim Leadership Initiative ( perhaps both claiming to represent the Muslim community at large) revealed that last year they undertook a so-called “interfaith” trip funded by a Jerusalem-based, anti-BDS Zionist institution called Shalom Hartman Institute , thus thus erroneously conflating interfaith dialogue with cozying-up with settler-colonialist groups (i.e, Zionists) at the expense of Palestinian human rights and to the angering of Pro-Palestinian activists. I don’t have time to search and bring the condemning tweets of prominent Pro-Palestinian activists such Abunimah, Blumenthal & Rania Khalek etc. But if we go by the overall Palestinian backlash that followed on social media, such move by those western Muslims can only be an addition to the already many Palestinian nightmares. Many Palestinians (but also Pro-Palestinian activities) are accusing some Muslims that by breaking-bread with their dispossessors & oppressors at the while claiming to support the Palestinian liberation movement, they are normalizing the oppression of Palestinians and its horrors by hijacking their legitimate struggle against settler-colonialism and transforming it into an unrelated, out of touch religious issue between Jews and Muslims. I happen to strongly agree with that. Here are two excellent pieces tackling the controversy. I especially like the Sana Seed piece, as it touch many important points.

      An Interfaith Trojan Horse: Faithwashing Apartheid and Occupation

      Zionism, BDS, and American Muslim Leadership

    • Jekyll

      Hey man all I’m saying is as long as there is a toilet next every curry buffet and or stand, I’m good…’cause when there is a rumblin, curry come a tumblin

    • :0=- (that’s supposed to be vomit spewing out of the smiley’s open meowth) (I think it’s convincing)

    • Jekyll

      “Jeykell’s wordings”…ummm ouch ? An de u sppled mai naime rong

    • Jekyll

      Well as long as there are diapers curry shall be enjoyed.

    • Laila Muhammad

      kudos to the former inhabitants and the new ones

    • Solid Snake

      I will also reply you too, Jekyll. But not now Im a bit busy, sorry.

    • Solid Snake

      Guess, I apologize, I don’t have much time to reply at length (I will do so later), but I am afraid that you are incorrect. I suggest you check my Disqus history which is open for anyone to see. I will get back to you and explain in more detail later.

    • Guess

      Solid Snake, even though I understand the driving moral behind your post (mainly due to Jeykell’s wordings) I can’t help but see this as a feast of legitimizing the colonization of Palestine (i.e Zionism) and giving credit to those that unapologetically adheres to such notion. I find it interesting in this instance that while the supporting of some crimes (ex, IS ideology) get instant refutation, while those supporting perhaps greater and for sure much longer persisting crimes get a pass. Very interesting indeed. But hey, the saying that you learn something new each day, applies.

    • No, you’ve got it upside down by mistake. It’s: mmm3 curry please!

      (also you left out an upside-down ‘m,’ I went ahead and added it for you)

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