Jewish Spiritual Parenting
Wisdom, Activities, Rituals, and Prayers for Raising Children with Spiritual Balance and Emotional Wholeness
Published by Jewish Lights
While raising our three children, we learned a parenting secret: that bringing up a child transforms us and transforms our world. We discovered that being parents is a spiritual journey that begins in an act of love and continues through intentional actions. The Holy One bequeaths to us minimally formed creatures, all potential, morally neutral. As parents we transform those children into compassionate, loving human beings. We become partners with God.
from the Introduction
Parenting has never been easy – but in a culture that encourages more screen time than face time, how can you make sure that your children stay connected to what really matters in life?
In this guidebook for building a strong framework for a Jewish life, Rabbi Paul Kipnes and Michelle November, MSSW reveal the spiritual wisdom they have learned and the hard-won parenting techniques they developed that shaped their children as individuals and their family as a whole. Together, they explore spiritually nourishing approaches to help you foster essential Jewish values like gratitude, joy and honesty in your children. Kipnes and November also share timeless teachings and spirit-filled activities, rituals, and prayers that will help you cultivate strong Jewish values and cherished spiritual memories in your own family.
In Jewish Spiritual Parenting we affirm all parents, recognizing that family structures are diverse. Each distinct parenting model brings both challenges and opportunities. We write for all who are raising children, whether on their own or in a marriage or partnership. These children might be your biological children, your partner’s children, or adopted. You may be biological or adoptive parents sharing responsibilities with stepparents. As single parents — raising a child yourself by choice, divorce, death, or some other reason — some of you are doing the parenting alone; others have the help of an ex- spouse or ex-partner, a significant other, or a grandparent. Some of you are grandparents, foster parents, or relatives of children for whom you are de facto parents. Whenever we speak about “parents” and “parenting,” we have each of you in mind.
Some families include one Jewish parent; others two or more. We acknowledge the reality that often the non-Jewish spouse is responsible for creating a Jewish spiritual home life. Some Jewish families are also multicultural or multiracial; some include a mix of parents and/or children who are gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, or questioning. We honor the many kinds of families in which children are being raised.
This book is also a resource for professionals who guide parents and their children toward healthy Jewish spirituality. Teachers, rabbis, youth professionals, educators, camp counselors — anyone involved with guiding parents and their children — can easily make use of the book’s Jewish wisdom, activities, rituals, and blessings.