Native New Englanders David and Alison Lobron live in West Newton with their two children and are members of Congregation Dorshei Tzedek. They participated in Parenting Through a Jewish Lens this past fall at their synagogue and David answered some questions for us about his experience.
What prompted you to sign up for the course?
My wife and I took this course because we wanted to try Jewish learning together, and we were excited to do it with members of our community. We had taken an earlier Parenting Through a Jewish Lens/Ikkarim class in a different synagogue, and while that was enjoyable, we found that we got more out of it by taking it in our own community.
How did you manage the time commitment?
Since we took an evening class, free babysitting wasn't offered. We hired a babysitter for Sunday nights so we'd both be able to go. This worked out very well - we had a lot of conversations about the class together that would not have been possible if only one of us had gone.
What makes this a “Jewish” parenting course?
The study materials, plus the fact that we were taking it with members of our Jewish community. I found it very stimulating to talk about parenting in the context of Judaism, and to see how other people work with the challenges that we all face.
Can you share one or two insights from the course that have stayed with you?
The sessions on Israel and Jewish chosen-ness were quite interesting, because people had very different points of view. I think the Israel session was my favorite, even though we had some disagreements, because it was clearly on many people's minds. Our class really spanned the political spectrum.
What did the instructor say or do to create a safe and stimulating learning environment?
I like that the instructor challenged us a bit. Our congregation is a very liberal Reconstructionist one, and I found it refreshing to read some more conservative texts, e.g., those from Joseph Soloveitchik or Abraham Joshua Heschel. I don't think our instructor was out to change minds, but I think it helped people see alternative approaches to some topics.
How might Jewish wisdom inform choices you make as a parent?
We've gained a tremendous amount just by being part of a community. I feel much more resilient and supported than I would feel if we did not have community support.
We invite you join us on Sunday March 10th for Matzah Matters - a free event open to the entire community that includes learning and babysitting/kids holiday craft projects.