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The Adventures of an English teacher in the Colegio Colombo Hebreo of Bogota!
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God bless you.  Go to heaven!

Then there was Abraham Finkelman.  Smart guy.  But one day I heard him tell another student in the hall, outside the boys’ bathroom, to go to hell.  “Abraham!” I objected.  “Why are you telling him to go to hell.  Why don’t you tell him to go to heaven!?

So, from then on every time Abraham saw me, he would say:

“God bless you!  Go to heaven!”   (Can't you just hear him say it with his Abraham Finkelman laugh?)

Thank you, Abraham.  Hope to see you there!  (He is now a successful dental surgeon in Israel!)  He was careful not to send someone to hell again, at least in my presence. But I’m hoping that the guy who was sent to hell eventually heard the song that Bob Dylan wrote in 1980, “I Ain’t Going to Hell for Anyone!” 

I will wash your mouth out with soap!

Now, Eli Weissman also used some improper language one day during recess.  I told him that if he used those words again, I would wash his mouth out with soap. And I wasn’t kidding. Yet my warning did not seem to faze him and he promptly used the same foul words again.  OK.   I must keep my word. Since I was still young and agile, I ran to the bathroom, got some soap and then proceeded to catch Eli. After some running (I ran cross country and track in high school), I caught him and held him to the ground while I fully washed his mouth out with soap.   Of course, then he needed to get to the bathroom quick to rinse his mouth out with water.   I am not saying that he never used foul language again, but at least he was careful not to do it again in my hearing.

Probably that kind of discipline would not be allowed in our modern times.

Soy Ateo!

On the other end of the spectrum was our good friend Saul Fraynd.   Solidly plump, Saul would suddenly get into one of his moods and shout: “Soy ateo!!” (I’m an atheist!)  Ok, Saul, that’s fine, but we don’t have to make a scene about it.  Then one fine day, while standing in the middle of the central patio during recess, Saul shouted at the top of his lungs… “SOY ATEO”!!!!      I walked up to him and said, “Saul. Shhhhh.”  I pointed up to the sky and said, “He is listening!”  

Saul Fraynd to the right! And probably Sergio Serna to the left

So you might be pleasantly surprised to know that Saul married a religious girl from Panama and has a kosher home there.   Wouldn’t you say that God has a sense of humor?   At the least, He usually gets the last laugh.  Saul, are you still ateo?