In helfman

Or raising children that love dance, or ice-hockey, or Israel, or music, or simply being Jewish.

Step one: Find a community for your children that loves it, too.

Different hockey leagues have different cultures, levels of sportsmanship and competitiveness.  Some music classes teach kids to love music while pushing for success while others teach children how to succeed but not to love music.  At Holy Blossom we hope that you have found a community that loves and cares for: the environment; helping others; music; Israel and simply being Jewish.

Jewish musical opportunities include: the Family Havdallah Night on Nov. 15th at 5:30 p.m., and any time David Gershon (of Judy & David) is in the building, including the teen songleading course he teaches on Wednesdays at 6-7pm,  First Friday (6pm on Nov. 7th), Family Service (every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in the Youth Chapel), and Tot Shabbat (Nov. 15th at 5:30 p.m.).

Step two: Model it.

You need to live it and show its worth to your children.  If it is the teamwork or determination they get from sports, or the attention to detail in a dance routine, there are ways that you can model these character traits at home.  If you want your children to love Judaism, don’t just send  them on our youth group events (YEAH, JVC, HABSTY/SHAMMAI), but also come yourself as a family to an occasional Family Service (held every Saturday at 10:30am during the school year) and one of our Family First Friday services and dinners.  Talk about it at home and as you live in the world, discuss their day and what they learned when they lie down at night and get up to the breakfast table.

Social and learning opportunities that help us and our kids build a community that loves Judaism include: Parent Mingles on Nov. 24th and 30th (see below for more details), The Great Camp Adventure/Parents’ Night Out on Nov. 22ndYEAH’S (Grades 3-5) annual shul-in, (Nov. 15th) and HABSTY (Grades 9-12) movie night (Nov. 23rd).

Step three: Keep your values in mind, even when the going gets tough. 

We all have conflicting priorities that pull at our time. We want to say ‘yes’ to everything, but sometimes we just have to say ‘no.’  We want our children to love and appreciate nature, to be little ‘mitzvah machines’ doing their part to make our world a better place, to love being active and have rewarding friendships.  As Rabbi Hillel teaches:  ?אִם אֵין אֲנִי לִי, מִי לִי? וּכְשֶׁאֲנִי לְעַצְמִי, מָה אֲנִי? וְאִם לֹא עַכְשָׁיו, אֵימָתַי  “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?  If I am only for myself, what am it?  If not now, when?”  We need to firstly find time for ourselves.  But we need to keep our vision of a better world in mind, and act on it.  Therefore we need to, with our partners, find ways of prioritising the many demands on our lives and making tough decisions about what we say ‘yes’ to.

Socially conscious activities with Jewish friends include: Kids’ Mitzvah Club’s December 7th Chanukah Gift event, JVC (Grades 6-8) baking for Out of the Cold (Nov. 3, 5:00 p.m.),

Step four: Celebrate the achievements, individually and with the community.

Having small rewards along the way helps encourage us along our goals.  These can be small, personal rewards, but public recognition doesn’t hurt.  A community should thank often those that make it part of their lives.  We thank you for entrusting your children’s education and peer experiences to us, through aliyot and hakafot.  We try to make sure that every child stays on through Grade 10, when we give then the biggest honour we offer our youth – the honour of Confirmation and having their picture on the wall and their signature in Jacob’s Tower for perpetuity.

At the end of family service every Shabbat, our children are given a piece of chocolate as they make that day extra sweet.  We hope you’ll join us for a Family Learning Shabbat on November 1st at 9:00 a.m., and will make it through to the end so your children get to experience the joy of that reward.

Step five: Realize that there is no one ‘right’ journey and that on a values centred journey, there is no end.

All families live a Jewish life differently. Some families teach more about social justice while others emphasize the environment.  Some parents think it is important that their children learn about a t’fillin.  Others would be most happy if their children never wore a kippah. Some families make Friday night their time they come to Holy Blossom, and some come on Saturdays.  Some only come once a month, and others come every week.

Judaism is our inheritance, and we all find elements in it that are more important at different stages in our lives.  As we transmit it to our children, we teach them that Judaism is social responsibility.  Judaism is environmentalism.  Judaism is music.  Judaism is friendship.  Judaism is so much more.  As we age, we find new nuances as to how others have struggled with ageless questions.  Judaism is our inheritance, it is up to us to pass it down to our children.

The life-cycle of HBT Youth Programs: Family Programming (+ Kef) -> YEAH -> JVC ->HABSTY+SHAMMAI ->  HBT on Campus -> Young Professionals at HBT -> Family Programming.

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