Recently, I signed my kids up for religious school at the 92nd Street Y after attending another temple for a few years. When I was registering my children for the class and explaining that my daughter could not have gluten and my son could not have gluten and dairy, the rabbi thought carefully about how to proceed after listening to our story and then informed me that they would only serve food in the class that my kids could eat.
After three years of bringing food every week for my daughter to her religious school and watching her not partake in so many activities because they involved eating gluten, I almost cried when the rabbi told me this. By making the food served gluten and dairy free, my children were fully included in all activities. The rabbi's sensitivity to my kids was in part from his own experience with food allergies--his son had an allergy to dairy and peanuts. When it came time for the Hanukah party, my daughter informed me that she didn't want to go because she wouldn't be able to eat anything and it made me so happy to tell her that, actually, all the food would be gluten free! The staff at the 92nd Street Y even purchased gluten free dairy free gelt for my kids at Hanukah. My kids hadn't seen Hanukah gelt (chocolate coins) in 3 years so it was a real treat for everyone. I don't know who is happier, me or my kids! I don't expect everyone to make every event gluten free. It is really beyond any expectations I had, but it certainly is a treat for me and my kids and they feel more positive about their experience at religious school because they are able to participate in all the activities.
And, it is a very good example of GF love.
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