This week JInsider continues its Mother’s Day series with more practical advice from Jewish mothers on inspiring and cultivating Judaism in the next generation.
Walk the Walk
Nothing beats teaching by example. I tried to instill a love of Judaism by living Jewishly. In our home, ritual observance, community, tzedakah and ethical behavior were important values. Jill absorbed her Jewish identity early on — requesting her own Shabbat candlesticks; insisting on separate dairy, meat and Passover doll dishes; and respecting how our practices differed from those of her multicultural neighborhood friends.
Jill understood the importance of my community volunteer work. Together, we rallied in Washington, D.C., for Soviet Jewry, marched in the Boston Walk for Hunger and tutored an immigrant family.
Jewish education played a pivotal role. Jill was 6 when we took our first family trip to Israel. She attended Hebrew College’s Camp Yavneh and Prozdor, learning to share my love of the Hebrew language and Jewish heritage.
I could not have predicted that my daughter would become a Conservative rabbi committed to social justice. But in some small measure, I would like to believe that the basic values I strove to instill provided a solid foundation and source of inspiration for Jill’s life’s work.
Paula Jacobs is the mother of Rabbi Jill Jacobs. Rabbi Jacobs is an author and spiritual leader of Jewish Funds for Justice. (www.jewishjustice.org)
From the time Julie was a very young child, I taught her the Jewish value of treating others as she wished to be treated. I believe that life’s purpose is simply to do good: to put yourself out on behalf of others, to greet people with a warm smile, to pray for them and to give them words of meaningful encouragement. Our tradition is based on loving kindness, performing good deeds and loving God. By doing these myself I hoped to inspire my children to live their lives based on Jewish values and ethics.
To live a good life takes great courage, and I have always tried to model getting through adversity with grace and dignity… to have a positive attitude and to constantly thank God for all our blessings!
Now, I’m so very proud of all Julie’s charitable endeavors as she works hard supporting many social justice causes in an effort to help perfect our world.
Marian Kaufman is the mother of Julie Bram. Julie and her husband Steve Bram are founding partners of the Los Angeles Jewish Venture Philanthropy Fund, and are active in the Los Angeles Jewish Federation, Hand in Hand and numerous other Jewish organizations.
Being Jewish for me goes beyond the religious and involves being connected to Jewish roots, traditions, language, values and culture. I always wanted Judaism to be an integral part of my family and bring my daughters close to it through things that would resonate with each of them. I strongly believe in experiential education — in that the more you experience the more you learn. Karina started owning her own Judaism when she was a teenager and I tried not to interfere in her search for Jewish connections.
A Jewish journey is finding that true spark of God within you. It is dynamic and in the shape that each person finds real. It changes, and as a mother I witness the growth and search with love and trust, so I can now say: “Dayenu.”
Liana Perel is the mother of Karina Zilberman. Karina founded the popular Shababa at 92nd Street Y program. In December, JInsider recognized the Shababa program as a truly unique offering for families with young children.
Share with us your family formula on inspiring a Jewish journey. Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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