The problem with prom

Rabbi Reuvanne Slater, Guest Writer

Every year, right around Prom time, I get an uncomfortable feeling. Most readers may assume that I am referring to my religious position concerning the mixed dancing and socializing that is associated with the evening’s events. Although this may be true, it is not the issue that I am addressing in this letter. The heart-wrenching problem that Prom presents to me is the alienation that it brings to some members of the graduating class. Although this number may be minimal, even one is too many. While Prom proposals are being enjoyed by so many, party busses are being student arranged, corsages and dresses are being purchased and tickets for every couple are being purchased, there are those who have not been asked out, are not sharing in the pre-Prom excitement and may even be thinking of skipping the event entirely. I know this because for a number of years, my wife and I held “Sprom” (Slater’s Prom) at our house for those who “Weren’t going to prom.” We had a handful of wonderful Seniors who came over to enjoy themselves as a group.

If even one member of the class feels left out of their own Prom, then is the whole event worth it? Why should an equal member of the class dread the upcoming event for fear that they will not be asked out by another member of the class and have to go alone? You have all done your share throughout the years to be unified as a class. You supported each other in Zimriyah, school spirit, class trips, grade government, tzedakah projects, food drives and the list goes on and on. Why then, at the final culmination of your high school career, must you pick and choose among yourselves, invariably leaving someone out?  No one does this with any intention to hurt someone else but it happens.

Why not eliminate any official dates prior to the Prom and go as a class. Go as a cohesive group. Randomly place yourselves on buses and travel together in unity. I believe this will put students at ease and eliminate any fear of alienation. Once you arrive at the venue for the Prom, you can associate with whomever you like. I am not trying to limit the enjoyment that you experience at Prom with this suggestion; I just think that it can be done in a way which leaves everyone feeling positive.

After being in JDS for so many years, I have seen and admired so many acts of kindness between students. I am amazed at the level of inclusion that goes on in school on a daily basis. I am proud to be a teacher here and feel privileged to teach so many thoughtful young men and women. Let’s keep pushing ourselves “higher and higher.”