Category Archives: Parenting Through a Jewish Lens

Parenting Your Teen logo

Positively Helpful

Nine feet of snow outside, extreme warmth inside. Over a three-month period last winter, seven of us were brought together for Parenting Your Teen Through a Jewish Lens. In each session, we explored values, studied relevant Jewish texts, and mostly shared questions and experiences in confidence. Our group was diverse in terms of geography, Jewish practice, and educational choices we have made for our children. For me, with children soon… Read Article →


Shabbat in the Woods

As we were lighting the candles last Friday night, my hands cupped to my face, I heard for the first time my daughter’s voice quietly but confidently saying the words along with me. And so I did something that I haven’t done since I was a kid: I opened my eyes, mid-prayer, and ever-so-subtly moved my hands away from my face. Yes, I peeked. I had to! I didn’t want… Read Article →


Christmas in July

“Mommy, do we celebrate Christmas?” my three-and-a-half-year-old asked me recently. I had expected—and then fielded—this question back in December when lights, trees, and plastic Santas started popping up all over town. But I was surprised it was coming up again, off-season. I told her that we do not celebrate Christmas. Predictably, she pouted. She pouted not because she understands what Christmas is or what it means to celebrate that holiday,… Read Article →


Shabbat at Our Home

  Several years ago I attended a workshop called “Making Shabbat Special” at the JCC with Rabbi Julie Zupan, a warm and thoughtful rabbi who is now an instructor for Parenting Through a Jewish Lens.  She shared a variety of ideas that sparked my own family practice.  Some of the ideas she shared were nice, but actually were not the type of Shabbat that I wanted – for example, a… Read Article →


Something in the City

This past Sunday I wandered around the SOWA market with my husband and three year old daughter. It was a perfectly sunny afternoon and we had just hit up our favorite coffee shop in the area – I turned to my husband and said “If I didn’t love our community in Cambridge so much I would want to live in the South End.” When I spend time in the city… Read Article →


Joining the Jewish Community in Boston

We stumbled upon Parenting Through a Jewish Lens completely by accident. I was discussing ideas for charitable giving with someone at Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), and at the end of the conversation the person suggested this program would be a good fit for us. He was definitely right. I grew up in the atheist Soviet Union, where religious and cultural Jewish practices were strongly discouraged. By the time I arrived… Read Article →

Mama and Edan August 2014 (3)

Connection and Community

Through a far-too-snowy and far-too-cold winter, the Sunday morning gatherings of our Parenting Through a Jewish Lens class at Temple Emanuel in Andover have provided a sense of warmth and community beyond anything I anticipated as a first-time PTJL instructor. Over coffee and bagels, we spend some time simply “checking-in” – sharing stories of our lives since we were last together; our challenges, our triumphs, our aggravations, and our comedic… Read Article →


The Bargained-For Blessing

I remember the day my now husband and I made “the deal”.  He was the first non-Jew I ever dated… and also so clearly the love of my life.  While I couldn’t envision asking him to give up his religious beliefs and traditions, I also wasn’t willing to give up mine or compromise on raising my future children with Jewish religious beliefs and traditions.  And so we agreed, well before… Read Article →

judy elkin

Give God a Chance

The topic for our Parenting Through a Jewish Lens class was spirituality. I knew that this would be a difficult, yet important topic to teach.  As part of the class, we read an extended excerpt about encouraging God talk with your children from Danny Gordis’ book, Becoming a Jewish Parent:  How to explore Spirituality and Tradition With Your Children. I believe that Jewish parents, to paraphrase John Lennon and Yoko… Read Article →


Parenting Through a Jewish Lens Gives Parents New Perspective

Growing up, Needham mother Stacy Ross had been taught that one of the least effective ways to combat homelessness was to give panhandlers money. So for most of her life she heeded this admonition. Then something shifted her perspective. It was a discussion this fall about tzedakah — charity— that she had with a dozen other Jewish parents during a course called Parenting Through a Jewish Lens (PTJL). As is… Read Article →