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Review for Congregation Beth Emeth, Herndon, VA, USA

Rating: 1 stars  

The religious school teachers are in the dark ages when it comes to awareness of bullying. They actually told my child, "well, you should have more self-respect" and "kids will be kids" when he was bullied. When we took this up with the director of the religious school, the education director, and even the rabbi, they simply could not understand that my child had been harmed. They focused their "zero-tolerance policy" on the one time my child defended himself and his sister after years of verbal taunts and physical attacks (tripping, shoving, pushing... always when the teacher's back was turned). When out of concern for other children being bullied, or being harmed by seeing kids bullied without consequences, we shared our concerns publically, the synagogue took steps to kick us out.

Also, the rabbi is uninspiring. She isn't much of a leader and certainly isn't a person I would trust in times of personal crisis or grief. She does read stories to the preschoolers adequately, but my kids say she yells at them in religious school. When she knew that my son was hospitalized with suicidal ideation resulting from the bullying, she never once asked me how he was doing.

My kids loved going to preschool there and my husband continued to volunteer for the preschool long after our kids were in grade school, but lately my youngest refuses to go to religious school and although my daughter loves her teacher this year, she has no interest in being a Bat Mitzvah after a couple classes with the rabbi.

They are very concerned with collection of annual membership dues. This year High Holiday tickets were only sent if dues were paid before a certain date. We have had financial difficulties this year and finding the High Holiday envelope empty with just a reminder to pay up brought me to tears on what should have been a joyous day. I guess being an active member for almost a decade isn't as valued as checks. We loved this community when we joined in 2009. Now I'm sort of relieved as well as shocked and angry that they kicked us out.

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