Category Archives: Parenting Through a Jewish Lens

natans kids

Hanukkah, Tzedakkah and Kids

One of the things that a lot of parents (including me and my wife) have been talking about the last few days has been Hanukkah and our kids’ expectation for presents.  People have a lot of different customs and approaches to the subject.  Some families we know don’t do presents at all on Hanukkah.  Most do. Some do one small present every night.  Some do just one big one on… Read Article →

Josh and Amy

PTJL Alum Family Still Engaged Five Years Later

My wife Amy and I took the Parenting Through a Jewish Lens (then called Ikkarim) at Temple Shalom of Newton in 2009. Our experience brought together a group of people from across the spectrum of Jewish affiliation – we are an interfaith family (I am Jewish, and Amy was raised as a Presbyterian, but is now a Bahá’í ) and we were in good company. We all shared a sense… Read Article →

Sue Fendrick

Starting from the Very Beginning

One of the challenges I seem to come up against pretty often in life is starting something not, as Julie Andrews, would have it, “…at the very beginning/a very good place to start.” I once found myself being a trainer in something at which I myself was a novice, and while the stretch was good for me (and developed my skills too), I also wished for the chance to learn… Read Article →


Reaching Parents at the Biggest Baby Shower

By Kate Weldon LeBlanc and Erica Streit-Kaplan On October 7, programs affiliated with Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) came together at the Biggest Baby Shower Boston. This event, open to all new and expectant parents, was like a trade show for families with a laid-back atmosphere like a cocktail party (but they were “mocktails”). As a sponsor, CJP was given a large display area, which they kindly opened up to several partners who work… Read Article →


How to Parent “Jewishly”

This was reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily It seems these days that we are faced with more and more choices, whether in our personal or professional lives, whether at home or in public, whether small and inconsequential or life-changing. When choosing to raise a family, we now face more options and possibilities than any generation before us, from the most basic concerns of health and welfare to the more complex… Read Article →


Planting Seeds in Time

Rosh Hashanah is the head of the year:  thus, we are now in what a friend of mine calls Tush Hashanah.  It is a time for looking both forward and back, much like January, named after the two-faced Roman god Janus who decrees that we spend the first few weeks of the secular year writing the wrong date on our checks. We mused over questions of time and its nature… Read Article →

Tzedakah Box

Giving is Receiving

Rabbi Tarfon would say:  …It is not incumbent upon you to finish the task, but neither are you free to desist from it. —Pirkei Avot 2:21   Being at a bit of a loss for this week’s blog post, I asked my almost-eleven-year-old son for his favorite Jewish tradition, as practiced by our family. He pondered for one short “Hmm,” then said, “I think it’s when we put a dollar… Read Article →


Tough Questions from My Children: Our New PTJL Coordinator Shares Her Story

What happens to people when they die? Where is God? Can we have a Christmas tree? These were the questions that my children were asking in 2012, the year I decided to participate in Parenting Through a Jewish Lens. I’d been hearing about the class for several years, and it seemed like the right time for me to enroll. The class was held at my synagogue, Dorshei Tzedek, and I was… Read Article →

shirtikvah (2)

Our Parenting Journey

My wife and I heard about the Parenting Through a Jewish Lens course through our synagogue and were intrigued by the concept of parenting with a specific moralistic perspective. We have been confident in our parenting skills and are always looking for ways to help our family thrive. We are guiding our daughters as they discover their place in the world and relationships to others. The course was fascinating and… Read Article →


Beating the Bedtime Blues

The story is told of Reb Zusha, the great Hasidic Master, who lay crying on his deathbed.  His students asked him, “Rebbe, why are you so sad?  Why do you cry?  After all the mitzvahs and good deeds you have done, you will surely get a great reward in heaven!” “I’m afraid!” said Reb Zusha.  “Because when I get to heaven, I know Gods’ not going to ask me, ‘Why… Read Article →