TISHREI: Tools & Techniques for Family-Friendly Festival

02 Sep 2015

I am excited to be presenting with Devorah Levine Katz as part of the Orthodox Union’s Tishrei Lunchbreak Webinar on Sept. 9.

As I look through my material and try to figure out what is relevant and interesting, I keep on thinking about how difficult it is for parents, particularly  mothers, to use Elul to prepare for the Yomim Noraim.

Elul usually coincides with the end of day camp, kids coming back from sleep-away camp and then the back-to-school rush. It is a busy time where we are consumed by the mundane activities of laundry, shoe and clothing shopping, school supply lists, dentists appointment and yearly checkups at the pediatrician’s office.

It is hard to think of what we need to do during this time period: teshuva, tefila and tzedaka.

It is best if we just take on one small mitzvah. Something simple can have a great impact. If we really think about it  usually is the little things that we do that create the person that we are. When I think of people that I respect it is usually people who are humble; who greet people with a smile and show a genuine interest in someone else

Parenting is also made up of little moments and kindnesses. It’s the simple stuff like hugs and kisses, smiling when you see your child after a long day of school; making them their favorite food; cheering them on when they learn to walk and being there for them when they come home from school. In fact, one divorced father lamented that he misses those small moments. His visitations includes the fun stuff like trips to the amusement parks, the ice cream store and Dave and Busters, but small moments everyday that build strong families elude him.

Taking on one small mitzvah during this time also has the advantage of being encouraging. If you can be successful at this small mitzvah then you will be more likely to do more.

What are some small things we can do?

My kids helped me come up with some suggestions:

Kiss the mezuzah

Say your brocha out loud so people can say Amen

Give tzedakah every morning—even just a penny

Smile when you wake your kids up in the morning

 Does anyone have some other suggestions?

Looking forward to our class next Thursday!

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.