Liz and Dan are currently participating in Parenting Through a Jewish Lens at the JCC in Newton. They are finding the class gives them time to contemplate their hopes for their child and the values they want to embody in their household.
It has always been important to us to build our lives--individually,
as a couple, and as a family—in such a way that we incorporate the
richness of our Jewish heritage, and the community of both our religious
and secular worlds.
Now that we are parents, this balance seems increasingly more important, and increasingly more difficult.
Our son is young, but he is becoming old enough now to understand
what is going on around him—he is able to recognize familiar songs,
familiar people and familiar routines. Our hope is to teach him about
Judaism and establish traditions with and for him that will allow him
the fluency necessary to ultimately create his own meaning for himself
about what role Judaism plays in his life. We want him to grow up with a
strong and proud Jewish identity, and to honor his history and the
history of his people. We want him to feel a sense of responsibility to
the world as a Jew—and also engage his secular community, family, and
world without judgment or arrogance, and with humility. We want him to
engage his Jewish world with curiosity, adventure, and strength—in fact,
that’s what we want for him throughout all parts of his life, religious
We just celebrated Halloween—a decision our household is admittedly somewhat divided on (as are Jewish leaders).
Aside from being the cutest turtle around, our son had an opportunity
to join in our neighborhood Halloween parade, hand out candy to his
neighbors, and “oohh” and “ahhh” at the big kids in their impressive
costumes. Is it Jewish? No. Is it difficult to explain? Sure. But the
truth is that our son is growing up in a world full of opportunities
and choices, and we hope to guide him through a set of experiences that
will enable him to be a thoughtful member of his multiple communities.
We want him to be happy, we want him to be good to people, and we want
him to love his Judaism.