Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Soccer and Shaws

Think it's too early to plan for the fall? According to the Soccer leagues of Sharon and Shaws Supermarket it's certainly not.

Last week, Rabbi Zupan, who will be teaching the Parenting Through a Jewish Lens class in Sharon, saw a banner in her neighborhood reminding her to sign her kids up for Fall soccer. "I wish I could put off thinking about the start of the school year." But she knows that if she doesn't plan any fall activity (i.e.  dance class, Sports Club, karate, swim lessons at the Y) for her children they might be missing out on a special opportunity. If she felt behind on September "soccer registration," she got an even bigger surprise at the supermarket: "I couldn't believe that Shaw’s has Halloween candy on sale already. Seriously?!"
As Julie pushes herself to enroll her kids in a monthly activity she usually doesn't make plans for herself. "As parents we're always thinking about our kids, but we need to think about what activities will nurture our own minds, bodies and souls," she acknowledges. This year she invites all parents to plan their own adventures, ones that will enable them to form a supportive community of parents and learn from one another.   

Parenting Through a Jewish Lens starts in October so make your fall plans for yourself NOW!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

5 Rules for Parents

As I pulled into my driveway a few days ago with a trunk full of groceries, BBC radio was reporting a new study that suggests “5 rules parents should follow for happier children.” I listened for an extra minute but with my melting ice cream in mind, I reluctantly turned the news off before they made their five points.   Ahhh, how much easier it would be if I had a parenting “rule-book!”
As I unpacked, I thought about the 5 rules I think parents should follow.  Here’s my list (in the order they popped into my head): 
1) Let them know that your love is an unconditional love.
2) Endeavor to be fully present (Don’t multi-task your parenting). 
3) Spend unstructured, unplanned time with them.
4) Let them spend unstructured, unplanned time alone. (Let them be bored.)
5) Take time to nurture mind and soul.
Not surprisingly, Jewish tradition has a lot to say about both good parenting and rules! This Fall Boston- area parents are invited to explore the intersection of Judaism and good parenting - and nurture your mind and soul - in the ten week course, “Parenting Through a Jewish Lens.”
I am thrilled that, for the first time, this course is being offered at a private home in Sharon, and even more thrilled that I will be serving as the instructor. It’s going to be a local collaboration with Temple Sinai, Temple Israel, Sharon-Stoughton Hadassah, Kehillah Schecter Academy (formerly SASSDS) and SAJE (the South Area Jewish Educational Collaborative and Hadassah cosponsoring.  Starting the week of October 24th,  class will meet on Monday evenings at 7:30 for an hour and a half.

What “5 rules” would make your list? Post them here.

Rabbi Julie Zupan will be teaching the Sharon Parenting Through a Jewish Lens class this fall.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Time with Our Curriculum

In 2003, Combined Jewish Philanthropies and Hebrew College commissioned the curriculum for Ikkarim, now known as Parenting Through a Jewish Lens. Dr. Jacob Meskin and Rabbi Benjamin Samuels—who have both taught in the program ever since—spent many months creating what would go on to become one of the first adult Jewish learning programs for parents. Since then close to 1,000 parents at more than 20 Boston area sites have completed the program. Communities around the country have inquired as to how they, too, can offer such a substantive, inspiring, course for parents.

Based on what we’ve learned over the years, we are presently making significant adjustments to the curriculum. As we tackle this task, we have three things in mind: 1) to make life easier for busy, overcommitted parents by shortening the number of weekly sessions; 2) to provide more material on practical parenting; and 3) to ensure that our lessons are accessible to and inclusive of parents of every demographic. 

Our new condensed and focused version will feature ten weekly class sessions and two extra-curricular events. The session topics include Family Relationships, Raising a Caring Child, Teaching Forgiveness and Helping Our Children Find their Calling. The extra-curricular events may include a Shabbat dinner with families at a synagogue or at the instructor’s or a participant’s home, an informal Hanukkah workshop, or a guided tour of a Jewish Book store.

Our amazingly talented faculty will roll out the new curriculum this fall.