Below are excerpts from a letter Amir kept in a file folder labelled “funny stuff.” The letter is dated April 26, 1993 and was written by a member of the Ramaz administration exasperated by Amir’s failure to conform with the Ramaz dress code. I love that Amir kept this letter, and I have to admit I am proud of my little brother for keeping the combine on its toes.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Lopatin
It has been a longstanding tradition at Ramaz that students come to school on Yom Haatzmaut dressed in bigdei chag, the kind of clothes that they would wear on a yom tov . . . at the very least, the vast majority of male students come dressed in white shirts and ties.
Unfortunately, Amir came to school today dressed in blue jeans and a flannel shirt and tie. The dress code clearly states that dress shirts and required and any color of jeans is forbidden any day of the year, let alone on a day such as this. More important was the attitude he presented when asked about his attire. His responses ranged from alleged ignorance about dress code requirements …. to his insistence that he believes it is more important how he behaves than how he dresses. This is not the first time I have had discussions with Amir about the dress code or other issues. His attitude is frequently argumentative and unbending. I do not begrudge him his philosophical views; yet I must insist that the school’s rules be enforced and that the boundaries of appropriate behavior are not crossed.
I write you now to inform you of today’s incident and the sense of frustration that comes with it….