By Laura Seymour
By the time you read this, Chanukah will be over and Dec. 25 will be looming. Our hope for our children (and for ourselves) is that being Jewish is year-round and every moment.
If it is, then Dec. 25 will simply be a great day when most people will be off work and school, and many can participate in a variety of mitzvah projects or just spend family time together.
So how are you going to make “being Jewish year-round” something that you can do for your children?
My favorite Jewish educator, Joel Lurie Grishaver, in my favorite Jewish parenting book, “40 Things You Can Do to Save the Jewish People,” has 40 wonderful chapters but sums it up at the end with “Joel’s Laws of Jewish Survival.”
Here are just a few to think about and try this year:
- Joel’s Third Law: The Shehechiyanu brachah is Judaism’s way of saving “Kodak moments” in our hearts. Every time you want a picture to save the moment, whether or not you snap the shutter, say this brachah and add it to the album in your heart.
- Joel’s Seventh Law: Never do Jewish things for your children’s sake. In the end, this will only serve to make Judaism childish and something all of you outgrow. Rather, do Jewish things for yourself and then find a way to involve your kids.
- Joel’s 12th Law: The best time to deal with the “problem of Christmas” is any time of the year but the middle of December.
- Joel’s 14th Law: It is better to individualize your participation in Jewish communal practice than to practice Judaism as an individual.
- Joel’s 25th Law: Don’t just pay for a membership in a Jewish organization or institute — be a member. It is the only way to get your money’s worth out of it.
Think about these and talk about them with your friends and with your children. If you have a law you’d like to add, send it to me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Seymour is director of Jewish life and learning and director of camping services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center of Dallas.