Bryan Carter and his wife Adele (pictured above with their children and parents) took Parenting Through a Jewish Lens/Ikkarim at Congregation Sha’aray Shalom, Hingham. Bryan shares how the program fostered connection with other parents, and gave all a means to incorporate Jewish values into their home.
For us, Parenting Through a Jewish Lens/Ikkarim has been all about the other parents who accompanied us on our journey of learning. On the first day of class, we did not know each other – and yet within the first few hours, we were finding common experiences and struggles as parents and as Jews.
I will never forget the class before Pesach. I began by telling my personal memories of the holiday, spending the twilight hours around long tables densely populated with beloved grandparents, aunts, uncles and many, many cousins. Back then, the seders were joyous affairs. I remember the happiness of my great-grandmother singing “Dayenu” and the seriousness of my great-grandfather making his points about morality. It was sad to realize that with the passing of my great-grandparents, the holiday itself had seemed to lose meaning. The family has since dispersed, and in recent years we’ve hired babysitters so that we could drive to spend seder with our cousins. Without even being conscious of it, I also realized that we had stopped celebrating the second night of Passover many years ago.
The whole point of the class was to remember that Pesach’s real meaning lies in the story itself: relating the exodus from Egypt to our children, passing on the message of our freedom, telling the story of our birth as a people. It was a heartwarming moment to re-learn as a class what makes the holiday so special after all, and to be inspired to create new traditions and memories for our children like the ones I am so blessed to have from my youth. As I listened to everyone else’s associations with the holiday, it was amazing to discover that, because we live in a community with many interfaith households, some of our classmates had never experienced a seder.
For more blog posts on Parenting Through a Jewish Lens click here. To register for the program visit www.hebrewcollege.edu/parenting or contact Elisha Gechter at firstname.lastname@example.org 617-559-8733.