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Last week I pre-registered Simon for preschool. Isn’t that hilarious? He’s seven months tomorrow and has only been sitting up for three weeks, but soon his name will be on a list of those entering Keneseth Israel’s 18-month old program beginning in August 2008. What’s more, I plan on doing the same at my second choice school, Adath Jeshurun, as soon as I’m back from vacation.

I am an alum of Keneseth Israel preschool, having attended from 1974-1976. As much as I enjoyed my time with Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Arbegust, I hear things have only improved in the intervening 33 years. Among other things, the school now features French education. “Why not Spanish?” my mother asked. Good question. “Wouldn’t Hebrew be more appropriate?” Matt inquired. Another good point. But the way I see it, if the French sticks, Simon can come with me to French restaurants in the future and help me order. Heaven knows I could use the help.

I felt sort of silly about calling so early, but I got religion on early bird registration when I discovered that at month 6 of pregnancy, I was too late to get Simon into my daycare of choice. That really threw me. Who were all these people that dared to tempt fate by registering first trimester fetuses for daycare? Did they not fear the power of the jinx as I did? Was I the only one carrying around old-country superstitions about preparing for an unborn child?

Apparently, the answer is yes, yes I was. So when it came to education-an area my generation seems to be completely hysterical about-I figured I couldn’t possibly be too early to get started. While I’m not concerned about Simon getting into the right preschool, the one that paves the way to the right prep school, Ivy League college, and first job, I would like to have him in a good school that’s in the neighborhood. And so, one year and three months before Simon could possibly attend, I inquired about preschool registration.

Turns out, I called at a good time. You see, to get into KI, a popular choice, you can’t be too early. Or, as it turns out, too Jewish. I learned this when the director asked if I was a synagogue member. “No,” I replied nervously, “but my parents both are.” “That’s OK,” came the reassuring response, “you’re calling early enough. And anyway, we always try to get the Jewish kids in first.”

Hmm. That brings up *the* question that I didn’t dare ask: Does Simon count? As far as the director is concerned, Jessica Goldstein just called about her son Simon. That sounds pretty Jewish. And technically, according to Orthodox and Conservative rules, Simon is automatically Jewish by virtue of having a Jewish mother.

Still, Simon’s last name is “Whitworth,” which is second only to “Christenson”, “Gentile” or “Mc-Anything” in its un-Jewishness. Again, the family had helpful suggestions. Matt’s was to use the middle name Wolfson wherever possible; it’s unambiguously Jewish. My mom’s was to not give out the real last name until after the registration check is cashed. I’m not sure if I’ll do either one of these, but you can bet that come October 1, the first day I can put down a deposit, I”ll be first in line to get Simon on the list. And on that day, his name might-just might-be Simon Wolfson Goldstein-Whitworth. It couldn’t hurt.

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