Category: problem solving

WHEN SIBLINGS FIGHT…

TOLDOT — Sibling rivalry occurs in all families with more than one child.  It can, in many cases, be an insidious problem, and many parents are at a loss at how to deal with it. In our Torah portion, sibling rivalry becomes a lethal drama, with parents who – instead of putting a stop to the dynamic — actually participate in the competition to advance their favorite child. Esau, as the eldest son of Isaac and Rebekah, stands to obtain the preferred blessing of the eldest.  However, Jacob, with his mother’s help, presents himself to his dim-eyed father pretending to...

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CHOOSE HARMONY…

LECH LECHA —  As parents, we are often handling disputes between our children. Isn’t it amazing how each child thinks he or she is justified, correct, and not at fault? Because fighting within a family is very common, our efforts have to focus everyone on the importance of living in peace. Disagreements will happen, and we may feel very justified in our positions, but that doesn’t mean that acrimony must prevail. In this week’s Torah portion, Lech Lecha, Abraham feels forced to asks his nephew Lot to part ways. Lot had accompanied Abraham through many of his travels, but...

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HOW HARD TO DISCIPLINE…

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...

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WHEN RULES ARE BROKEN…

BERESHIT — All families have rules. There comes a time in every person’s life when he or she breaks a rule. How we deal with infractions is essential. As parents we need to think about whether consequences are enforced and if we’re consistent. The first portion of the Torah, Genesis, has much to teach us about rule breaking. One of the first things God tells Adam is not to eat from the tree of knowledge. Yet the first story about Adam and Eve together is a story about their breaking this rule. Rule breaking seems to be simply part...

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DEVELOPING THE ABILITY TO LISTEN…

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...

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