As brand-new parents, my spouse and I decided to sign up for Hebrew College’s Parenting Through a Jewish Lens (PTJL) when our daughter was 5 months old. Through the magic of technology, we were able to join the class from D.C. even though the class typically meets in person in the Boston area. Led by Rabbi Getzel Davis, the course covered a range of topics that we really enjoyed learning about from a Jewish perspective. It was great to hear from other parents with babies the same age, and also learn from parents with a little more experience to help us think about the kinds of Jewish traditions we want to start for our family.
There were so many “aha” moments, both from reading the Jewish texts and listening to the other parents in the class. Something that really stood out for me is the concept of how we are thrust into but also grow into our parenting roles to become the “adults in charge.” We don’t have our own parents around making choices for us. We have the freedom to make our own choices and bear the responsibility for those decisions.
Perhaps the most impactful takeaway from this learning experience was the idea of daily Jewish rituals and prayer. Neither of us grew up saying a morning or evening prayer, and it was eye-opening to think about how easy and meaningful this new practice could be for us. I have started saying the Modeh Ani prayer when I wake up my daughter every morning, and together we sing the Shema prayer to her every night before bed. These rituals have connected me to my Judaism and to my daughter in ways that I hadn’t experienced before.
Ultimately, Parenting Through a Jewish Lens helped provide me with an appreciation for the value and power of intentionality and putting in the effort to create the traditions and rituals that are the building blocks of a Jewish home for our family.
Mira Kahn lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her spouse and their 8-month-old daughter. Learn more about Parenting Through a Jewish Lens and upcoming classes here.
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