Parenting Through a Jewish Lens has been a truly introspective and transformative class. Not only was our instructor Jeff Amshalem a thoughtful and insightful leader, but were we surrounded by other parents who lent new ideas and camaraderie to the daily parenting struggles we so often sweep aside. Jeff encouraged us to look at parenting from various angles and pinpoint what our ultimate goals and dreams are for our children.
The classes focused our attention on how we run our homes, what values we impart to our children, and what our children come to teach us based on their own strengths and weaknesses. Jewish textual sources brought in a deeper level of understanding. Texts were studied with partners after which the group rejoined to share insights. One tangible change we have made since taking Jeff’s class is that we have added more structure to our dinnertime conversation. For example, we now ask our children “what did you do helpful/kind for someone else today… what did someone else do which was helpful/kind to you today?” This prompt has helped us in making one of our mutual values, Chesed (kindness), more known to our children.
Parenting through a Jewish Lens gave my husband and me the time and space to discuss how we are doing as parents and what we really want for our kids. It was so helpful to set aside time for this purpose, and to know that meanwhile our children were playing happily in the other room (and getting fed as well!). Another concrete example of change we’ve made as a result of parenting class is that we have instituted a special time on Shabbat to discuss the weekly Torah portion and to make it more relevant to our kids. This has been a really special way for us to share ancient Jewish wisdom as a family and to create a special routine which helps us really make Shabbat special. I highly recommend Parenting Through a Jewish Lens to anyone who wants to improve their parenting through better communication with their spouse, through community building, and through concrete and tangible goals/changes.