HA-AZINU — Perhaps you’re familiar with this nightly ritual: check under the bed for monsters, turn on the night light, tuck child into bed with blankie and favorite stuffed animal, cover child in kisses, and check under the bed for monsters, again. Whether you’re five, fifteen or fifty years old, you have probably dealt with your own share of irrational fears. Whether it’s a fear of flying, public speaking, or spiders – or a fear of monsters hiding under your bed – there are times when the rational part of ourselves is overpowered by our emotions. We cannot think...Read More
VAYELECH — Disobedience is an inevitable and often unpleasant issue every parent has to confront What’s a parent to do? It helps to remember that children need to test limits at times in order to feel safe. What they are usually looking for is consistency in setting limits. When firm, appropriate boundaries are set, it’s as if a safe container has been created that holds the child secure in the knowledge that his or her parents care. In our parsha this week, Vayelech, God tells Moses that God’s people will be disobedient and violate the covenant. Nevertheless, God keeps...Read More
VAYELECH — You probably don’t enjoy pain. Most people don’t. You probably don’t enjoy uncomfortable confrontations or difficult tasks either. It’s easy enough to take a pill to alleviate pain, but we shouldn’t be running from every tough spot. Instead, challenging situations should be seen for what they are: valuable growth opportunities. Moses nears the end of his life. He is old and frail, but this does not stop him from making the most of his days. He uses his time to speak to his people and impart final words of guidance and wisdom. It isn’t easy for him,...Read More
SHOFTIM — Children are perpetually concerned with fairness. “It’s not fair,” they cry when a sibling gets something they don’t. It’s a phrase they often use when there’s something not exactly to their liking. But “it’s not fair” can become something more mature as they grow older. It can become a concern for justice. It’s not fair, for example, can become it’s not right that a classmate is being teased on the playground, or can extend beyond their immediate environment to —it’s not right that a person has no place to sleep at night, or that a child has...Read More
RE-EH — All parents try to discipline their children. They have different methods, but generally parents are trying to influence their children to be moral and to behave appropriately. Imposing any kind of discipline rests on the assumption that children have free will. They can choose what is good and reap rewards, or choose what is bad and suffer the consequences. In this week’s Torah portion, Re-eh, Moses tells his people: “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse”. The people have a choice: they can obey the commandments and reap blessings, or they can fail to...Read More
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