Parenting & Grandparenting Through A Jewish Lens
UPDATE: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all Hebrew College Community Learning classes are now being offered online. For questions, please contact Anna Katsevman.
Learn from both ancient and contemporary sources of wisdom that you are not alone in your parenting journey and connect with other families in your community.
- time Parents of all stages
- location Synagogues, community spaces, and living rooms, and online
- duration Parenting Young Children (6 sessions);
Parenting Tweens (5 sessions);
Parenting Teens (4 sessions);
Grandparenting (5 sessions)
Timeless texts to learn from and other parents to lean on
Join other parents in your community for moderated discussions about topics that matter to you as a parent. Explore Jewish values and teachings that can enrich your family. Reflect on the joys and challenges of raising kids, especially during these challenging times. Find support, encouragement, and connection. Parenting Through a Jewish Lens welcomes the participation of parents from all faiths, cultures, families, and experiences.
Classes for parents of all stages
Coming this summer:
Father, Abba, Tatti Circle (6 sessions). Join with dads from around the country for an exploration of what it means to raise young children in America today. Together, fathers will delve into questions of identity and spirituality and how Jewish identity intersects with parenting. We’ll also develop strategies for becoming a better father and partner. Geared towards dads of children ages 6 and under.
Grandparenting Through a Jewish Lens (5 sessions-$80/person). Explore how Jewish wisdom can help us navigate our roles in our children’s and grandchildren’s lives. This class is appropriate for grandparents with grandchildren of all ages and stages. See below for more course details.
Check out the complete listings for summer classes on our Registration page.
Fall listings coming soon.
Join a group of fellow parents of newborns through nine-year-olds to discuss topics that matter to you as a parent; explore Jewish values that can enrich your family; reflect on the joys and challenges of raising kids today; and find support, encouragement, and connection. Free babysitting is available for all daytime classes
Our curriculum helps parents discover the many ways in which Jewish sources of wisdom can inform their choices. A few examples of the topics addressed include: How can I help foster my child’s uniqueness? How can I nurture my child’s resilience? How can I help my family through dark times? How do I talk to my child about God?
We offer two Options
In our home
- Towards Joyful Parenting
- Infusing Our Lives with Meaning
- Finding Peace in Our Homes
- Shabbat: A Time to Reconnect and Recharge
- Parenting at a Time of Loss
- Parenting for Kindness
In the world
- Parenting for Resiliency
- Parenting for Responsibility
- G-d Talk and Spirituality
- Making Space for Self-Expression and Spirituality
- Fostering a Connection to the Land of Israel
- Hopes and Dreams for Our Children
“What I liked the most was being able to spend time with some very funny, smart, thoughtful parents and feel camaraderie in knowing that we all constantly wish we could do better. On a deeper level, we explored many ancient Jewish texts which clarified for me the extent to which my Jewish upbringing has informed my world view, something I hadn’t fully realized before, and stimulated some really interesting conversations about a variety of topics.” (Karen Leitner)
The practical and emotional challenges of raising pre-teens and teens in today’s world often seem overwhelming. Learn from both ancient and contemporary sources of wisdom that you are not alone in your journey through these complicated life stages.
Parenting Your ‘Tween Through a Jewish Lens and Parenting Your Teen Through a Jewish Lens create supportive communities of parents where you will explore compelling Jewish texts and traditions and share stories and ideas about raising preteens and teens today.
Parenting Through a Jewish Lens welcomes the participation of parents from all faiths, cultures, families, and experiences.
Parenting your ‘Tween (ages 9-13):
- Parenting Through a Time of Change
- Permitting New Freedoms and Communicating Effectively with Your Tween
- Guiding Tweens Towards Mindful Speech
- Cultivating Jewish Connection in Our Tweens
- Fostering an Ethic of Caring
Both in class and at home, Parenting Your Tween Through a Jewish Lens was a thought-provoking and fun opportunity to think about our family’s culture in new ways. (participant)
Part One: Grit and Grace While Raising Teens
- Your Parenting Journey
- Expectations and Dreams
- Your Teen is a Unique Being
- Effective Communication
Part Two: Parenting Teens in an Age of Unprecedented Choice
- The Good in the Selfish Me
- Peace in our Non-Stop World
- Jewish Pride and Combatting Anti-Semitism
- Making Mistakes and Second Chances
Grandparenting today is a rewarding and challenging experience. In this 5-session class, you’ll will come together to learn how Jewish wisdom can help us navigate our role in our children’s and grandchildren’s lives.
- How do we maintain good relationships with our children and grandchildren and not let our differences divide us?
- How does our role as grandparent evolve as our children and grandchildren change?
- How are we shaped by our relationships with our own parents and grandparents?
- How do we transmit our values to our grandchildren?
- How do we share our personal stories with our grandchildren?
GTJL Instructor Leann Shamash teaches about Jewish storytelling and how to craft a story for your grandchildren
Session One | Our Grandparents, Ourselves
This opening session introduces us to one another and explores our individual identities as grandparents. How are our self-perceptions and expectations informed by our relationships and connections with our own parents and grandparents?
Session Two | Navigating Differences
How do we maintain good relationships with our adult children and our grandchildren while not succumbing to differences that threaten to divide us including in parenting styles, Jewish denominational practice, long distance, and interfaith child rearing?
Session Three | The Stages of Grandparenting
The grandparenting role changes as we, our children, and our grandchildren change. Being a grandparent in the postpartum days is quite different from being a grandparent to a toddler and to a school-age child. Teenagers and college kids provide their own opportunities and challenges as do adult grandchildren. What can we learn from each other and our sages that can inform our evolving roles, thoughts, and actions?
Session Four | Transmitting our Values
Each of us has our own value system. Perhaps our values are informed by Jewish tradition, or perhaps they are informed by other sources. How do we transmit to our grandchildren what feels most important to us? How can we do so in a way that is respectful of their own parents’ role in teaching them what matters? How will we leave “our mark” in ways that feel both natural and deliberate?
I have had a lot of fun sharing experiences and strategies about being a Jewish grandparent. We do have a good group and the fact that we’ve all known each other for decades makes the intimacy of sharing all the more meaningful. (Arthur Walitt, participant)
Parenting Through a Jewish Lens welcomes the participation of parents from all faiths, cultures, families, and experiences. No prior formal Jewish education or knowledge of Hebrew is required.
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Prices for our various classes are listed below. Generous financial assistance is also available for all classes. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Ahava Rosenthal, director of Parenting Through a Jewish Lens, at 617-559-8734, for additional information.
Parenting Through a Jewish Lens
Individual – $95
Couple – $155
Parenting Your ‘Tween Through a Jewish Lens
Individual – $80
Couple – $130
Parenting Your Teen Through a Jewish Lens
Individual – $65
Couple – $110
Yes! All are welcome to join PTJL classes and learn about the wisdom that Judaism has to offer in dealing with universal parenting challenges. We welcome people from all family structures, including single parents and divorced parents. While some people do take the class as couples, PTJL focuses on an individual’s core values and experience as a parent.
Yes! All are welcome to join PTJL classes and learn about the wisdom that Judaism has to offer in dealing with universal parenting challenges.In fact, many Interfaith couples find this course affords them a common vocabulary and helps them to think about their personal values and their values as a family.
Not at all. Parenting Through a Jewish Lens welcomes the participation of parents from all faiths, cultures, families, and experiences. No prior formal Jewish education or knowledge of Hebrew is required.
Our classes begin in the fall and spring. Each session is an hour and a half. We take public school and holiday calendars into account when designing the class calendars.
We understand that parents have busy lives. It is not uncommon for participants to miss a session or two. If you miss a class, your instructor will be happy to fill you in on the material that was covered.
Everyone is welcome at Parenting Through a Jewish Lens classes! You do not have to be a synagogue member to sign up at a class hosted at a synagogue.
There is no required reading or homework prior to each session. However, we do provide suggested take-home and follow-up activities that help bring each session’s lessons into your home. Sometimes, instructors will ask parents to read a text from the source book ahead of an upcoming session. Faculty are always respectful of parents’ time constraints and work with each class to determine whether anything outside of class time is appropriate.
Yes! While some parents attend as couples, many others attend individually. We also have many single parents who participate. This experience is about an individual parent’s values, perspectives and experiences.
There is free on-site babysitting for all daytime classes. You must pre-register for childcare – it is not a drop-in service.
Children are entertained while their parents are in class; they are furnished with age appropriate toys and books, and they engage in activities offered by the childcare providers.
We have been working with a trusted company, Care.com, for years. They are responsible and responsive and parents rave about them. Some sites provide their own childcare.
We used the conversation from the day’s class to spark a discussion about our very different understandings of what it meant to be Jewish and to raise Jewish children.Bev Feldman, Parenting Through a Jewish Lens Participant