TERUMAH — Children often complain about homework and chores. Too much of the time they do these things unwillingly, grudgingly. Parents need to coax, chide and threaten before their child’s responsibilities are complete. Moaning and groaning ensue. In the end, most parents see to it that children learn to be responsible, but they are baffled about how to encourage a better attitude in them. In this week’s Torah portion, the Israelites offer materials and skills to build the sanctuary. However, not everyone has to give, only “everyone whose heart makes him willing”. The people of Israel ultimately give freely...Read More
MISHPATIM — “I cannot tell a lie” are the famous words of our first president. Though it is honorable that Washington chose to tell the truth, he could have avoided lying in a different way. He could have considered the potential trouble he would end up in for chopping down the tree. Mishpatim, this week’s Torah portion, warns to avoid falsehood. The wording is unlike any other instruction or warning in the Torah. Instead of simply saying, “Don’t lie”, it states “keep far away from falsehood”. The Torah is encouraging us to be mindful of our actions and their...Read More
MISHPATIM — Often in life we look for the fireworks, the fun ride, the sparkling party, but it’s the everyday, the prosaic, that really creates the infrastructure for a solid life. Consider what happens in this week’s Torah portion. After the thunder, voices and lightning at Sinai in our last parsha, in this one we find law after law. Such a letdown after the terrifying excitement of Sinai! But what we find here are really the tenets of how to live a life– how to live with one another on a daily basis. For some examples: “You should not carry...Read More
VA-ERA — Try telling a teacher, parent, or friend that you just HAD to do something they deem inappropriate. Nine times out of ten, the response will be “That’s ridiculous! Nobody can force you to do something!” We have a deep belief in, and awareness of, our freedom to choose when making decisions. In Va’era, this week’s Torah portion, God informs Moses that He will harden Pharoah’s heart and Pharoah will refuse to release the Jews from captivity. Pharoah’s heart is ‘artificially’ hardened, but the rest of us are in fact free to choose between right and wrong. The contrast is deliberate. Throughout life, one encounters decisions. As we grow, the...Read More
VA-ERA — Most of us resist accepting responsibility at one time or another. Depending on what they are, responsibilities can be challenging and feel burdensome. Children especially have a difficult time learning that they can’t play all the time. Sometimes they are inundated by activities, chores and school work and can feel very burdened. It’s important to help our children find the right balance between work and play, between structured time and unstructured time. Perhaps we can learn something about accepting responsibility from this week’s Biblical portion. Moses, at the burning bush, does not want to accept the responsibility of freeing his people...Read More
Start with the Video
Free 2-Minute Discussion Starters
Rabbi Charles Savenor
Claar’s visionary project is not just an amazing resource for parents, but also for Jewish educators and schools.
Director of Congressional Education, Park Avenue Synagogue
Rabbi Steven Wernick
A wonderfully easy, deeply enriching, and modern tool for families of all ages to share in the timeless tradition of Torah.
CEO United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
What you are conveying is exactly what I am trying to achieve with my students. It is such a valuable resource.
Educator & Curriculum Writer