Parenting “Who is Like Me?” Parenting Through the Siddur’s Lens
Hebrew College’s Parenting Through a Jewish Lens class, “Ancient Jewish Wisdom for Raising Modern Children” with Rabbi Amy Grossblatt Pessah, was a wonderful resource that provided a wealth of ideas and inspiration for parenting my children. Based upon Rabbi Amy’s excellent book, Parenting on a Prayer, the course was a great opportunity to dive deeper into some of the book’s topics with other parents. It also provided the chance to learn personally with Rabbi Amy, whose book I was introduced to at a Hebrew College community program in December 2020 entitled, “Sh’ma: Love and Listen.”
Each of the class’s four sessions centered around a different prayer from the siddur (Jewish weekly prayer book) and a parenting lesson that can be drawn from it. A session that was especially meaningful for me explored the theme of confidence, using the prayer, Ein Keloheinu, as inspiration. This prayer asks, “who is like G-d”? Rabbi Amy extends this question and theme to invite us to think about our own uniqueness. This session gave me space to think about my self- confidence as a parent along with helping me think about the ways I can help my kids build their own confidence as unique individuals. From this discussion, I gleaned that as parents we cannot and should not fix everything for our children. Since that lesson, I have started to focus on acknowledging when something might not be okay, supporting the emotions around that, and then allowing my kids to work on fixing the problem on their own.
I so appreciated meeting other parents, bouncing ideas off of one another as well as having time and space for personal reflection. One of the most enjoyable and valuable aspects about this experience was that it felt like we were each getting one-on-one coaching from Rabbi Amy while also learning together. The tips and tools Rabbi Amy provided at the end of each session, like a guide to setting boundaries for ourselves and our children, are resources that I will use for many years to come. Thank you, Hebrew College and Rabbi Amy for providing this opportunity to learn and be in conversation about growing as a parent.
Rachel Suchoff lives in Milford Connecticut with her 8 ½ year old twin daughters.