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Developing the Antidote to Vaping, Juuling and Other Evils

There was good news but moments into the Jewish New Year. Last week, the day after Rosh HaShanah, our government’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that teenage use of electronic cigarettes had reached an “epidemic proportion.”  FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said that more than two million middle and high school students were regular

The Soul of Parenting: When Our Children Dread Yom Kippur

September 12, 2018, by

I vividly recall sitting in Rav Soloveitchik’s class one day near the beginning of the year when, rather than starting to teach the gemara, he began to speak about his inability to think about anything else before Yom Kippur but the upcoming encounter with the Divine. He said that there were two days that stuck

The Alef in Honey in our Homes

September 5, 2018, by

There is a very old ritual, reported more than 700 years ago, of children learning the alef bet for the very first time. The child would be brought to the synagogue or to the teacher’s house where there was a tablet waiting for him upon which could be found each of the letters of the

Parenthood, the Holidays and Community

September 3, 2018, by

It all started on Rosh Hashana 13 years ago. It had previously been my practice to stand for chazaras hashatz and Torah reading, but that year I was three months pregnant and trying to navigate, for the first time, the intersection of my identity as a Jew with my identity as a Jewish mother. I

The Soul of Parenting: Battle Over Short Skirts

August 29, 2018, by

I received the following email in response to a previous column on doing battle with your child over observance: “I found your article very interesting. If your child is surrounded by people whose dress code i.e. length of skirt is not how you dress or how you want your child to dress what is the

Hugging Your Teenager

Here’s a loaded question – When’s the last time you hugged your tween or teenager? It’s easy to hug babies. To a newborn, a parent’s love may be as important as food. They want to be hugged from the first moment of life. They’re so cute and vulnerable that you have to restrain yourself not

The Soul of Parenting: Tzitzit Tug of War

August 23, 2018, by

There is a famous dispute in the first Mishnah of Bava Metzia about two people who find a garment and each one claims that it belongs to him. “If two people came to court holding a garment, and this one, the first litigant, says: I found it, and that one, the second litigant, says: I found it; this one says: All of it is mine, and

Back to School – The 2018 Primer

I love this time of the year. Back-to-School. It engenders warm, fuzzy feelings of optimism and hope as we embark on a new school year with the Jewish New Year not far behind. Even people who have “aged out” of this phase of back-to-school are caught up in this mood, which is pregnant with possibilities.

The Soul of Parenting: Before It’s Too Late

August 16, 2018, by

We’ve spent the last few weeks considering the impact of genes on one’s religious nature. The claim is that we are a combination of both nature and nurture, and the way that we in turn nurture must take into account our own child’s nature. Push too hard and you get a robot; push too little