Juggling work, family, friends and every other demand in life can make the idea of adding one more commitment unbearable. Our advice? Carve out the time for Parenting Through a Jewish Lens — it’s absolutely worth it.
When Temple Beth David in Westwood started promoting PTJL it peaked our interest due to our different religious upbringings and interfaith marriage. We had agreed to and were already actively raising our children Jewish, but what did that mean? How were other parents doing it? What were we missing or what could we be doing differently?
The course has a thoughtfully crafted curriculum but the real value came when our teachers positioned the weekly topic to serve as a jumping off point for sharing stories, fears and personal solutions; helping us bond over the reality that there’s no one right answer. In our case it was especially poignant when navigating some of those bigger questions that we as adults still struggle with. How should we discuss celebrating non-Jewish holidays with other family members? What happens after you die? What does it mean to be Jewish? Not the easiest topics to approach with a 5 and 3-year-old! Going around the table and listening to how parents with older children had already tackled these topics provided us with a degree of comfort and confidence, and in turn our ability to share lessons with newer parents was empowering.
Arguably our most impactful takeaway came when we were discussing how to incorporate Judaism into our homes and kids’ lives on a regular basis. The Rabbi shared how she would recite the Shema with her kids every single night before bed. Naturally, we were hesitant to try and add an additional step to an already challenging process around the dreaded Bedtime Routine. However, to our surprise our kids quickly took to it and are now excited when we sing it during services as it’s a familiarity they can relate to. While it was a small change to our routine, it has brought Judaism and an elusive calm to our family, no matter how hectic a day or evening it has been.
If you’re considering taking Parenting Through a Jewish Lens and not sure if you have the time or energy, we encourage you to sign up so you can uncover your own insights.