How to Be a Jewish Parent: A Practical Handbook for Family Life

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9780805211160: How to Be a Jewish Parent: A Practical Handbook for Family Life

How can I make the holidays interesting and meaningful to my child?
Should I send my child to a Jewish day school? A Jewish summer camp?
What kind of synagogue is best for my family?
How do I plan a family trip to Israel or add Jewish heritage sites when traveling around the country or around the world?

If you are, or hope to be, a Jewish parent in more than name, you have a lot of decisions to make. So many choices! But you can have no better guide to this wealth of opportunity than Anita Diamant.

The author of popular books on Jewish weddings and baby rituals, Diamant now joins with family therapist Karen Kushner to help you through the next steps. They give creative, practical answers to these and many other questions, provide guidance on how to foster Jewish decision making for children of all ages, describe how to make your home a "Jewish space," and explain the importance of synagogue membership, holiday celebrations, community service, and other family activities.

Diamant and Kushner draw from many sources to describe the practices, customs, and values that go into creating a Jewish home. They combine insights from Jewish tradition with contemporary developmental thinking about how children learn and grow. They provide addresses (including Web sites) where you can find specific information and other resources. And since experience may be the best of all teachers, they share their own and other parents' stories and observations. For Diamant and Kushner, the number-one goal of How to Be a Jewish Parent is to give parents (and grandparents) guideposts to raising joyful children within the rich tradition of the Jewish faith and culture. No Jewish family should be without it.

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Review:

"Parenting is a wholly human practice, and a holy one." This description of parenting comes from the Preface of How to Be a Jewish Parent by Anita Diamant, with Karen Kushner. At a time when statistics predict continued dilution of Jewish identity, when many "discussions of Jewish parenting seem like a last-ditch effort to preserve an endangered way of life," Diamant and Kushner instead consider parenting to be the project of "raising healthy, joyful human beings within our rich, diverse, life-giving tradition." The first part of the book, "Parents as Teachers," describes how to create Jewish spaces within the home, how to involve children in a Jewish community, and how to teach them about the Jewish calendar. The second part of the book, "Ages and Stages," addresses the particular challenges of raising children in various age groups. And the third section, "Modern Life," speaks to some particularly challenging situations, such as physical, mental, and learning disabilities. Throughout, Diamant and Kushner combine insights from scripture, psychology, education, and everyday experience. Like Diamant's previous books, How to Be a Jewish Parent arrives as the definitive reference in its field. --Michael Joseph Gross

From the Publisher:

"What can be done to help parents who are competent in other dimensions of their lives, but who feel inadequate or ignorant with respect to their Jewish lives? Give them a copy of How to Be a Jewish Parent and they will be treated to a sophisticated, readable, non-judgmental, and comprehensive guide which will enrich their own lives and lives of their children, and will enable Judaism to come alive all year round."
-- Rabbi Joshua Elkin, Executive Director, Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education

" How To Be a Jewish Parent will be just as dog-eared and thumb-worn as The New Jewish Wedding . . . It addresses real issues of raising children in an open society while trumpeting the power of Jewish tradition and texts to imbue contemporary family life with transcendental meaning. The language is vivid and lively, authoritative without being judgmental. . . a wonderful addition to any Jewish library."
-- Carol K. Ingall, Associate Professor of Jewish Education, William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education, Jewish Theological Seminary

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