While I knew many of the Parenting Through a Jewish Lens participants in our fantastic MetroWest class before Rabbi Dan Liben and I started teaching it, for the most part I had spent more time singing with their children than really getting to know them–our conversations were necessarily short as we had children in hand, under foot, or about to get into trouble.
For 10 evenings we left our children home with spouses, parents, friends, and baby-sitters and enjoyed a full hour-and-a-half in adult conversation. This magical opportunity enabled us to unpack and debate traditional and modern texts, and share relevant stories from our own experiences. We always circled back to how the texts and our discussions could inform our parenting. We talked about raising our children to be proud Jews while appreciating beautiful Christmas lights; we discussed ways of teaching our children about death, tzedaka, prayer, and mitzvot, and how to appreciate the qualities that make our children special (even if these same qualities sometimes drive us crazy). But what felt most valuable was the opportunity to engage in Jewish learning at a serious adult level.