Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Jewish Parenting Group Shapes My Road Map

Five years ago this week I started on my Jewish parenting journey when my son was born.  As an interfaith couple we had decided to raise a Jewish family, but neither of us had specific traditions we felt we had to observe, and therefore we had an open road map for the paths we might take.  We knew we were having a boy, but we didn’t know whether we wanted family from far and wide to come and visit a mere week after his birth, as they would if we held a bris according to the traditional schedule. We consulted with a Rabbi with whom we had studied in a class offered through the Union for ReformJudaism.  She talked to us about the traditions of a bris, and gave us suggestions for how we could integrate them with our family’s needs, beliefs and abilities.  Through these discussions we were able to honor our newborn son in a way that was comfortable for us, and that gave him a starting point for his own Jewish journey.

Shortly after he was born, I started attending a Parenting Through a Jewish Lens class, then known as Ikkarim.  Through readings of a range of Jewish texts and thoughtful discussions with my classmates, our family road map started to take form and my husband and I were able to begin our own family traditions.  As parents, each day we encounter decisions we have to make for our children, and there is rarely only one right answer.  I found PTJL helped me make choices that guided us along a path that was right for us. 

Recently, I was asked to chair the Alumni and Friends of PTJL Advisory Group, working with an enthusiastic staff committed to assisting all who have taken the class, and those considering what the class is about.  We have an exciting year of events coming up for the entire Boston Jewish community, including our Latkes & Light Hanukkah party, and Matzah Matters, our family Passover event.  For those on the committee, aside from planning the events, we use our time during meetings to have text-based discussions with exciting leaders, and to talk about issues with which we continue to struggle with as parents.

When the course is over, the experience is not.  I continue to be involved with PTJL because my family benefits from the learning experiences and support offered through the Alumni Group.  We welcome all who are interested in joining the committee.  Please contact Marcy or Elisha at parenting@hebrewcollege.edu for more information.

For me, being involved in the Alumni and Friends of PTJL Advisory Group is a way that I can stay connected to learning and continue to be an active part of my son’s Jewish journey.

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