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Memorial Foundation

Jewish Parenting

An introduction

What does it mean to be a Jewish parent?

Consider yourself as explorer. As a Jewish parent you are on a "Jewish journey." You have not reached a destination; rather you are continuously traveling on new roads, experimenting with innovative ways to bring your family closer to Judaism, God, the larger Jewish community, and each other.

Being a Jewish parent means utilizing Judaism as a map or guide book in order to start your family’s journey. Jewish values, beliefs, culture, and rituals all serve as entry points through which your family can begin or proceed on its individual Jewish journey. These Jewish practices and traditions will enrich your family’s life and encourage you to continue your Jewish parenting.

One of the most important elements about being a Jewish parent is role modeling, or being a dugma (Hebrew for role model). Judaism is a religion of action and doing. It is crucial that your children see you living and participating in Jewish life. In order to succeed at Jewish parenting, one can not say "Do as I say, not as I do." Rather your actions must correspond to what you are telling your children.

Think about how often children decide to go into their parents’ profession, be it law, medicine, teaching, or homemaking. More often than not, children emulate what their parents do because they have seen the impact of their work. So, too, children who know that being Jewish is important to their parents internalize this and incorporate it into their own lives.

Related:
Parenting texts
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Remember that Jewish parenting is not the means to the end but rather an evolving process that will continue as you and your family continue to grow.

 

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