The blessing of a good book (or two)

A few months ago, Rabbi Schaktman recommended a book to me. Actually, I think he recommended an author and mentioned the title of one of her parenting books. He had recently returned from the Union of Reform Judaism’s (URJ) Biennial Convention where he heard her speak. He said that she was incredibly dynamic.

Always up for some good advice on parenting, I was intrigued and went home to look her up. Her name is Wendy Mogel and after reading about her on the URJ Biennial’s and Amazon’s websites I immediately downloaded both of her books onto my iPad: The Blessing of a Skinned Knee and The Blessing of a B Minus. I then proceeded to devour each of them. I am still savoring the wonderful framework that she presents for raising my Jewish kids.

If I had to choose between the two books as to which is my favorite, I’d  pick: The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children. Maybe it is because I read this one first. It introduced me to the concept of raising my kids  from a Jewish perspective and I immediately connected. I teach them about being Jewish, but this is different. It is more about being Jewish in the choices that I make in regards to parenting.

I enjoyed the beginning of the book in which Mogel tells the story of how she embraced her Jewish self and chose to study more about Judaism. I’ve been talking to my husband lately about the idea that we don’t have to wait to go to Temple to be Jewish. We can enjoy our religion and culture in our everyday lives at home. I was thinking that we’d celebrate Shabbat and Havdalah and talk more at the dinner table.Reading this book reaffirmed a lot of choices that I make by instinct and encouraged me to understand my children in new ways.

I had no idea how often I embrace what she calls the “Three cornerstone principles of Jewish living….moderation, celebration and sanctification.” Now that she has named it for me, I am able to practice it even more.

Most of the reviews on Amazon are much better than I could write here. They also affirm that it is good parenting advice whether you are Jewish or not. I will simply close by saying that they are the two best parenting books I have ever read. They have made a huge impact on my choices. They make me feel better about being a parent and being Jewish. I wish I had read them sooner. I’d love to meet Wendy Mogel and it would be totally awesome if she came to Hawaii to speak.

Thanks, Rabbi Schaktman, for the suggestion.

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