Eighteen ways to raise your kids Jewish
By Rabbi Fabian Werbin
- Your kids need a Hebrew name. The way we name them is through the Brit Milah for the boys and Simchat Bat for the ladies. During these ceremonies the kids receive their Jewish name.
- Teach the kids one new Hebrew word every week.
- Bring the kids to the Synagogue; make them feel that the Synagogue is their home.
- Teach them Hebrew. Hebrew is the common language of the Jewish people.
- Read with them the stories of the Tanach (Bible). The kids will love to know the stories of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Sampson, King David, Elias the Prophet and more.
- Celebrate with them all the Jewish holidays. Ask them to prepare a picture for the upcoming festival and show it to the family during the celebration.
- Talk to them about Israel. Israel is the center of the Jewish life. Begin saving money now to send them to visit Israel.
- Ask your rabbi to visit you at home, and get together with the rabbi. Your rabbi will be glad to tell your kids stories about Judaism. The kids will be very proud and impressed seeing their rabbi at their homes.
- Send the kids to a Jewish camp. It is amazing how the kids reinforce their Jewish identity when they attend Jewish summer camps.
- Visit the sick. This is a very nice mitzvah and the kids appreciate when you do that. If you teach them that visiting the sick is highly valued in Judaism, they will come with you to fulfill this commandment.
- Cook Jewish food with them. Every holiday has its own recipe. Cook with your kids, have fun and talk about kashrus with them.
- Give Jewish gifts to your kids. A Menorah for Hanukkah, a dreidl, a new kippa, a nice costume for Purim, a chain with a Magen David.
- Take them to Jewish Museums. It is incredible how the kids strengthen their identity after visiting Museums like the Holocaust Museum or the Jewish Museum.
- Paint a t-shirt using Jewish symbols with your kids. Your kids will be proud to use the shirts, especially since they made them with their parents!
- Show them old Jewish movies like “Yentl”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “A Stranger Among Us”, etc. Remember the first talking picture was “The Jazz Singer”, the story of a Jewish Cantor.
- Bring the kids to the Synagogue and show them the Torah scrolls. They will love the experience and will learn that Torah is for everybody, not only for adults.
- Every night before they go to sleep, bless them and teach them to say Sh’ma Israel
- On Fridays nights encourage the ladies to light the candles and the boys to say Kiddush.