HA-AZINU — We all want our children to listen. There are several kinds of listening that we expect from our children: obedience to what we tell them to do, paying attention generally to what we say, and taking in our criticism. But often children choose not to or can’t listen to what we tell them. All of these different kinds of listening can be difficult for children, whether they simply want to do what they want to do, or because their attention is elsewhere, or finally because it’s hard to hear criticism. Our Torah portion begins with the injunction...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
KI TAYTZAY — “You can run, but you can’t hide”. We all have our demons, the parts of ourselves that we wish were better or wish didn’t exist within us. The best way to deal with them is to acknowledge their reality, confront them, and challenge them. Only then do we stand a chance of working them out of our system. This week’s Torah portion, Ki Taytzay, contains a wonderful mitzvah. We are instructed to return lost objects that we may find lying in the street. Though I may be appreciative of this when I am the owner who...Read More
PASSOVER — Asking questions is essential to childhood. Doing one’s best to answer these questions is part of being a parent. Sometimes we are delighted by these questions, and at other times we are discomfited, at a loss as to how to answer them. Whichever it is, we know how important it is for our children to keep on asking questions. This coming week is time for the yearly Passover seders. The Torah and the rabbis who shaped the seders placed children’s questions at the heart of the seder. Not only are the “Four Questions” designed to specifically engage...Read More
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