Posts

Still (and always) a Child

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My recent experience of the beautiful picture below brought this home in a real way. Witnessing my parents pre-yom kippur blessing and embrace, the joy was indescribable. Here I am a 45 year old, with a family of my own still deeply impacted by the safety and connection of my parents. More than ever, I am convinced that the greatest gift parents can give their children is the health and security…

Nurtured to Thrive

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When father's day comes around, It's natural to wonder how you are doing in that role. The cards feel good but you know the kids are forced to make those by well-meaning teachers and/or mothers. So how do you "check your ratings" (borrowed from a favorite Calvin and Hobbes)?   I'm not sure, but a line that resonated with me is that a parent's primary role is to help his child feel that…

I Love You (especially) Here

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When he was very young, at times, our oldest son would hit me. I remember how hard this was as a new parent. I did not take it well and responded poorly, often with anger; driven by the fear of "what's wrong with him?", worse, "what's wrong with ME?" My experience is that the single most challenging aspect of being a parent is noticing a child's pain (beneath whatever confusing outwardly expression…

Two of the Most Dangerous Words to Say to Your Child

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Two of the most dangerous words you can say to your child: "You're Special" They are dangerous not because they are a lie. They are dangerous because they can be about YOUR need to have a "special child". The burden the child then bears is one of "not enough". The fear that being his normal, imperfect, human self is not impressive enough. This costs him. Because against the burden…

Mother's Milk (Yitro)

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And G-d called to Moses from the mountain saying: 'This is what you shall tell the house of Jacob and relate to the Children of Israel'. (Exodus 19:3) The ‘house of Jacob’ refers to the Jewish women. (Rashi)   The offer to receive the Torah and become G-d’s nation went to the women first. Why? Because a mother is the conduit for a child’s identity and essence. Identity is the context…

Values are Caught, Not Taught (Bo)

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“…When your children ask, what is this service to you? You shall say…” (Exodus 12:25-26) Education is a parental responsibility. Because the Torah views education, not as an accumulation of knowledge, but mainly as a transmission of divine values, parents are the most appropriate people to accomplish this task. Why? Because values are transmitted as an organic part of daily living. You can’t…

The Engine of Existence: Exploring the Dynamics of Giving and Receiving 

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Explore the universal dynamics of giving and receiving (mashpia-mekabel) and discover how a deep understanding of this process can inform and guide your most important relationships. This class can be presented as a lecture or in-depth text study. Approximate Length:  Text Study - 60 minutes Lecture - 30 minutes Target Audiences: Schools (Parent education) Synagogues (Adult…

"Reign it In"! (Vayechi)

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Reuben, you are my first-born, my might and the first fruit of my vigor, exceeding in rank and exceeding in honor…unstable as water….you brought disgrace… (Genesis 49:3-4). Rueben made a mistake. He was emotional, acted impulsively and it cost him. Mistakes are forgivable, but their consequences remain. In an online world mistakes can be especially costly. A poorly considered Instagram/Facebook…

The Path to Adulthood (Miketz)

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And Pharaoh said to his courtiers, “Could we find another like him, a man in whom is the spirit of G-d?” (Genesis 41:38) In last week’s parsha (Vayeshev), Yosef is referred to as a “lad” (נער).  In this week’s parsha, Pharaoh calls him a “man” (איש).  One might say that Yosef matured into a man, not simply by the passage of years but by his experiences during that time and…

Fortified from Within (Vayetzeh)

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One day soon, our children are going to head out into the world. They will be on their own dealing with challenges that we are all too familiar with.  How can we best prepare them for the reality of an often harsh and uncaring world? Contrary to popular belief, they do not need to be broken in early. “I am God…Remember, I am with you: I will protect you wherever you go and will bring you back…