By Laura Seymour
Dear Parents and Children,
The December Dilemma is past and we have talked with our children about the differences between our religious observances. The discussion is really the most important part — we want our children to know the beauty of Judaism and to strengthen their identity. The Jewish people have been called “The People of the Book” because of our dedication and commitment to studying the Torah. We should really be called “The People of the Books!” Jews have studied many, many books and learning has always been an important part of every Jewish home. As a confirmed biblioholic (one addicted to buying and reading books), I give many suggestions on books every Jewish home must have, especially if they have young children in the home. A very special book edited by Joel Lurie Grishaver is titled “I Have Some Questions About God.” The many questions are answered by a number of different rabbis including former Dallasite Rabbi Ed Feinstein. If you haven’t started your Jewish bookshelf, start today!
Now, children have lots of questions about G-d and we adults often struggle to give the answers because we are still searching for those answers. The most important thing to remember about questions is that we do not always need to have an answer; in fact, Jews have always been accused of answering every question with another question. As a teacher and a parent, I know that works! So when your children ask the tough questions about G-d and life, turn to them and ask, “What do you think?” It helps to know what they are thinking. There is a stage when we wish our children would stop asking us questions; instead, cheer the questions and find the answers together.
So when are you supposed to have these heavy-duty study sessions with your children? This answer is easy because we have read and recited the answer from memory: “You shall teach these words to your children and speak of them while you sit in your home, while you walk on the way, when you lie down and when you rise up.” It is simple — do not wait for a serious study session but rather talk about G-d, Torah and all of life every day in every way.
P.S.: If you get stumped with a question, feel free to contact me and we will learn together — 214-739-2737 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.
By Laura Seymour