CHAYE SARAH — In all likelihood, as children we were told to honor our parents. It’s one of those things that parents like, and by now we know why. As parents, we expect our children to listen to and do everything we want them to. In truth, though, honoring parents should not entail giving up one’s own life and dreams. In this week’s Torah portion Abraham’s trusted servant Eliezer approached Rebecca’s father, asking for permission to bring her back as a wife for Abraham’s son Isaac. Laban, Rebecca’s brother, in utter disrespect of his father, jumped up and responded...Read More
CHAYE SARAH — Obviously, people are not all the same. We feel differently about how neat to keep our rooms, what we eat, and the activities we like. It’s easy to dwell on the differences, but there are many core similarities that we share, and we need to focus on them. Isaac and Ishmael were Abraham’s two sons. They were half-brothers from different mothers and very different in age, temperament, experiences, mannerisms, and character. Yet this week’s Torah portion, Chaye Sarah, emphasizes that when the time came to bury and mourn for their father Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael did so...Read More
NOAH — When your computer or smartphone misbehaves, often it just needs a reboot to get going again. At times that may be an extreme step. You may lose work or you don’t quite know what will happen on the restart, so you try some more careful attempts at first. When guiding our children, we also need to make the call between extreme measures and more cautious ones. The account of the Flood is the primary theme of the Torah portion, Noah. Mankind’s behavior had gotten so depraved and immoral that G-d chose the reboot option. Humans were all but obliterated, saving only Noah and his family to...Read More
NOAH — Snoopy begins each of his stories with the words “It was a dark and stormy night…” Even if you’re not a beagle living on top of a red doghouse, life can often feel dark and stormy. Where do you go when you’re having a tough day? Whom do you turn to when you’re having a bad night? We often turn to our families to help us through the rough patches in life. Like Snoopy, Noah had many dark and stormy nights. While it rained and poured for forty days and nights, Noah’s ark protected his family. Though...Read More
BERESHIT — Family tensions are easily created between siblings. Feeling overshadowed because of the accomplishments of our brother or sister, or feeling overlooked by parents, are frequent causes. How can we avoid these common family dilemmas? This week’s Torah portion, Bereshit, includes the story of Cain and Abel and man’s first violent act: a lashing out of brother against brother based on family tension, jealousy and perceived favoritism. When Cain is asked, after he killed Abel, where his brother is, he answers, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The Torah is clearly teaching that the answer is definitely YES to Cain’s question. What can we do in our families to...Read More
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