Today I tweeted that I was off  to get myself frummified as I had a high school interview to attend with my son. I was asked, if I have to dress a certain way, why would I want my son to attend such a school. (Let’s ignore the fact that I was still in my pjs and fluffy slippers. Not interview clothes by a long shot).

My answer was that I would do anything necessary to get my child into the school that is the perfect fit for him (or as close to perfect), even if it means wearing tin foil on my head.

Does it hurt to be respectful of the standards of dress when going for a visit? Do I want to bring attention to myself when walking in to a high school of all boys, nary a female in sight? Just the fact that I am female and in their school will bring enough attention, I don’t want any more than that. I am there to have them interview my son, to see whether their school fits his needs and our wants. It’s not called being a sell-out.

And yes, I toned down my flair. I wore purple instead of pink, I covered all the elbows and knees and collarbones.

An aside: while we were waiting for the interview at least 15 boys from the school came over to my son, shook his hand, said Shalom Aleichem, and shared their names. They made him feel welcome when he isn’t even part of the school yet. That scored the school major points in my book.

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  1. BB says:

    If you have to dress differently than you normally would, how is the school a “perfect fit?”

    • HSaboMilner says:

      My son is not a mini-me. He has his own needs religiously / educationally that may be different than mine. One son is a black hatter, one wears a srugie – the other two, time will tell – I want them to have an education that is right for them individually, not predicated on how their mother dresses or conforms (or doesn’t)

    • Mark says:

      BB – If you have to dress differently than you normally would, how is the school a “perfect fit?”

      If schools were a “perfect fit”, each school would have only a single student. Generally, a caring parent picks the nearest they can get to perfect.

  2. lady lock and load says:

    Tsk, tsk, you wore purple, not black? Oiy gevald! LOL, they will love you anyway, don’t worry. Lots of luck! :)

  3. I agree. Its not a sell out. I think its a wonderful thing when a parent allows the child to choose their path, and respects it. So often unfortunately the parent tries coercing the child into following the path that they chose. The child may follow along for a bit, but in the end will make his / her own decision. Its important that they see the parent there supporting them, and not view them as holding them back. I can say with certainty that I am holding where I am today only because of my parents understanding of that. I salute you for what you did.

  4. shorty says:

    There is nothing wrong with dressing “up” for going to an interview. We do it with job interviews all the time. How many people put on their best suits and ties for a job interview? You want to put your “best face” for the people you are trying to impress. We do it for jobs, we do it for in-laws, so why not do it for the school you want your child to get into?

  5. g6 says:

    Oh, I can (and have) argue both sides on this one quite well.
    I too, have been in the position of being respectful to the sensitivities of others when it comes to matters of attire.
    On the other hand, there is a fine line about not wanting to send my child to an institution that cannot and will not respect “where I’m coming from”.
    The famous story I haul out on such occasions is that of a friend of mine’s daughter, who was snidely asked on a seminary interview if she had ever spent shabbos in a “Torah Home”. When she answered quite surprised (she’s an FFB) that she spends every Shabbos in a Torah home, the interviewer responded even MORE snidely that No, he meant a “Torah Only” home.
    What boggled my mind was that this girl was still DESPERATE to attend this place.
    I wouldn’t want to send my child ANYPLACE that doesn’t respect us.
    Just sayin’……..

  6. Miriyummy says:

    I remember dressing up for one of my daughters’ high school interviews. At the time I was covering my hair with berets with a braid hanging down my back. For the interview I tucked the braid into the hat. While my daughter and I were in the waiting room one of her friends from our community came in with her mother, whose ponytail was also tucked up inside her hat. My friend came over to me and said, “I see it’s Purim for you too!”

  7. Bracha says:

    Is purple frummer than pink? Just asking…

  8. BB says:

    So when you frummify and get your son into the black hat school and his friends come over and see that your family isn’t black hat, then what?
    My daughters are grown up now, but when they were younger, we picked the school that matched us. Otherwise we’d have run into kids not sleeping over for Shabbos or eating in our house if they went to a more black hat school than our level of observance.

  9. ilanadavita says:

    You did and do what you feel is right for you and your son(s); that’s fine if the kids understand why you are doing this.
    What interests me most is to know how the interview went.

  10. fille says:

    I’ve seen that headmasters often apreciate what children from more open houses can bring to the school: Often they are more used to order, manners, tidiness, etc…

    If I were a principal I’d try to have some diversity in my school… … and teach the children to accept diversity, this is very important…

  11. I think it’s perfectly normal to frummify yourself for interviews, PTA meetings, etc. The fact is that almost everyone is doing it – most of us are not always as frum as we appear to be when on our best behavior. Since frumminess is such an external thing that is so easy to ape, anyone can appear as frum as they like with just a tweak of the wardrobe. And obviously it’s no indication whatsoever of a person’s avodas Hashem, and any school principal knows that. However, he also appreciates it when we toe these lines on the right occasions – it shows that we are familiar with and respectful of the norms of the society.

  12. hannahpt says:

    Like Naomi says, it’s become normal. It seems that everyone (present company excluded) is looking for something frummer than they have at home–they want the school to fill in what might be missing. Then the people who are a good fit for the school look around and see that most of the parents aren’t as “frum” as they are, and pick up and start a new school with stricter standards. It never ends.

    Now I choose schools based on their hashkafah, not the parent body.

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