“Since I enrolled my son in Cohen Hillel Academy school this year I have been looking for ways to educate myself as a Jewish parent,” says Jen Goldberg, a North Shore mom. “The CJP Values in Action program allowed me to learn about what it means to parent through a Jewish lens, teaching both me and my family about tikkun olam.”
Values in Action is a program co-sponsored by CJP and Cohen Hillel Academy in Marblehead that engages parents in guided conversations on Jewish values, and then gets the whole family involved in hands-on community service activities.
From Classroom to Community
Elisha Gechter, a Jewish educator at Hebrew College, leads the Parenting Conversations, which are a mix of text study and conversation about the children and their personalities. The class addresses the Jewish roots of the values parents want children to learn, and how to use the Torah and Talmud as a guide for handling real life situations that kids face today.
“We’re so busy as parents, that sometimes we’re just making decisions as we go. The conversation was a nice opportunity to think about making intentional parenting choices,” says Jen.
Each conversation relates to a community service project that takes place just a few weeks later and involves the whole family. In September, the parents discussed bitachon, or trust/faith/confidence/resiliency, and followed that with a “Spruce Up the Park” day later that month at Endicott Park in Danvers, where the children planted flower bulbs. “Kids had to trust that the bulbs would grow, and resiliency comes into play because the flowers will bloom year after year,” says Laura Shulman Brochstein, who manages CJP’s programs for families with young children and North Shore programs.
“Kids are generous – all they need is an outlet and direction, and they’re thrilled to help,” says Lynne Krasker Shultz, the Values in Action program coordinator. “The projects get them involved in their community, which makes them feel connected, confident and purposeful.”
Growing Good Work
Each time families go back to a community service site, they have an opportunity to see the impact they’ve made, and remember what they learned. “They take that experience forward with them into each new day. We’re doing more than just doing good work. We’re raising children to be conscious, deliberate and meaningful contributors to their communities,” says Laura.
See pictures from the Spruce Up the Park community service day.