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Raising a Child with Judaism

in Your Interfaith Family

InterfaithFamily/Philadelphia and jkidphilly present a one-of-a-kind ONLINE class for interfaith parents thinking about whether and how to bring Jewish wisdom, traditions and customs to their home, their lives and their parenting. New Class starting February 5, 2014.

 Click here for more information.

"I want to meet other Jewish parents. How can you help me meet them?

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Helping Children To Welcome Guests


I love the Jewish harvest holiday of Sukkot—the fun, creative process of decorating a sukkah; the beauty of looking through the sukkah roof at the autumn moon and stars; the pleasure of eating delicious meals with friends and family in the unique, impermanent shelter that is a Sukkah. Several years ago, my family inherited a sukkah structure that came apart in neat pieces from friends who were moving from Philly to Hawaii. We managed to put it together and with a few trips to Home Depot for extra supplies, got it standing. We went to work decorating and then made plans to invite guests to our sukkah—my son’s preschool class and the kids’ families, neighbors who had never seen a sukkah before, friends from our synagogue.

We don’t get the sukkah up every year; sometimes at this season, we are still getting in our back to school and activities groove or have other work and family obligations needing our attention. I miss the excitement and energy of putting up a sukkah in those years—but have also come to a place in my life in which I’ve tempered my expectations of myself and know when it’s okay to pass for this year.

But whether we get the sukkah structure up or not, I remember the value of how opening our sukkah to friends has been a helpful way to teach my children about the Jewish value of hachnasat orchim, welcoming guests. Whether your family puts up a sukkah at home or not, there are so many wonderful ways to involve young children in learning the value of hospitality anytime of the year. Here are a few of the lessons from Sukkot that have worked well for my kids:

  • Use Their Creativity: Do your children like to get busy with crayons, markers and (pardon the suggestion) glitter? Put them to work making a big welcome sign for your guests (putting all the materials outside cuts down on your clean-up). If you are having a meal with formal seating, kids can make place cards for your guests.

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