Hi, my name is Rivkah Chaya Lisbon.

I now live in Surfside Florida.  I’m 11 years old and  in the 6th grade.   I go to a public school called “Bay Harbor “.

How does an Orthodox Jewish girl survive in a public school, you ask?   Well, let’s get started by talking about what we wear in my school.

At Bay Harbor, in middle school, you have to wear black pants, shorts, or skirts, and for tops you have to wear are burgundy short sleeve shirts. The girls in one of my classes ask me,  “Why do you wear skirts all the time instead of pants? ”

I explained to them that in the Jewish religion you have to wear skirts because of modesty (tzniut).

In 5th grade, some people in my class didn’t understand and made fun of me but I just ignored them. Before that, in 2nd grade, my P.E. (physical education) teacher was mad at me every day because he wanted to me to wear pants, not skirts, so my mom explained this to the principal and the principal spoke to the teacher.

Now, lets talk about food.  In Bay Harbor they give out lunch  free lunches, but I don’t eat them because most of the food is not kosher.  The milk and cereal usually are, but I still have to check.

When we have a pizza party, I always bring my own food.  Sometimes, people in my class bring kosher food for me to eat because they feel bad for me.  One time, in 4th grade, we had a field trip to the American Airlines Airport and the the people that work there were going to give us free food, but the food wasn’t kosher.  Instead, my teacher ordered me kosher food, which was very nice of her.  I gave my teacher a list of all the kosher symbols just in case.  You should always check these before eating.

How do I learn the Torah and Daven if I’m in a public school?   Well, there’s a program called a Hebrew School.  I go there on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:05- 4:30.

First, we daven (pray), then, we learn the Parsha, and then we do Aleph Champ. Aleph Champ is where we learn about the Hebrew alphabet.  We also use colors to represent what level we’re at.  I’m not in a color; I’m learning Rashi letters, which is the highest level in the Aleph Champ.

So now you have an idea of what it’s like for an Orthodox girl in a public school.  Stay tuned to my next blog post, where I will tell you all about my background…