Stories & Memories of Ray Schildkraut

By: Vivi Altabe May 22

A Goldene Matseva

Mrs Schildkraut was not my teacher. But I shared the love and fear that all Bais Rivka Graduates acquired by osmosis over the years.

I should probably correct that. Mrs Schildkraut was not my teacher. But she taught me a lesson that has been ringing in my ears for over twenty years, and that will continue to guide me...

It must have been 2001 or 2002. I was an eager-to-please and even more eager-to-excel fourth grade Morah in Mrs Wilhelm's team of excellent Morahs. I loved my job, and loved my students, and it wasn't uncommon for me to spend long evening hours preparing for my classes. That's precisely what I was doing one day. Together with another kitta Daled Morah, Dina Kaplinsky (Bronstein), I was making a giant cardboard ladder that would cover the wall, ceiling to floor, to teach Tefilla. Each rung would have a pocket, holding a message, that would lead into the next lesson of the Tefila unit. Working on our knees, bent over the cold floor, blue cardboard stretching from door to hallway door, we didn't notice time go by. We also didnt notice Mrs Schildkraut. "What are you waiting for?" she asked in her shrill tone, "A goldene matseva?" Her eyes twinkled. I understood enough to chap there was a witty joke there, but one that i wasn't understanding. She realized, so she spelled it out, "Go Home!!"

Those witty, wise words, have stayed with me ever since. She was so way ahead of her times. Well before the Self-Care mentality set in, and before anyone was talking about creating healthy balance. Those were the days of urgency, of perfection, competition, and overdrive. But her words were so true: What are you waiting for??? To drive yourself to your last drop of life, so that what? So that people will erect for you a golden monument in rememberance of your glorious contributions? Because you covered a classroom wall in blue cardboard perfection?

Go home!!

Thank you Mrs S. ת.נ.צ.ב.ה.

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