"Parenting is a wholly human practice, and a holy one." This description of parenting comes from the Preface of How to Be a Jewish Parent
by Anita Diamant, with Karen Kushner. At a time when statistics predict continued dilution of Jewish identity, when many "discussions of Jewish parenting seem like a last-ditch effort to preserve an endangered way of life," Diamant and Kushner instead consider parenting to be the project of "raising healthy, joyful human beings within our rich, diverse, life-giving tradition." The first part of the book, "Parents as Teachers," describes how to create Jewish spaces within the home, how to involve children in a Jewish community, and how to teach them about the Jewish calendar. The second part of the book, "Ages and Stages," addresses the particular challenges of raising children in various age groups. And the third section, "Modern Life," speaks to some particularly challenging situations, such as physical, mental, and learning disabilities. Throughout, Diamant and Kushner combine insights from scripture, psychology, education, and everyday experience. Like Diamant's previous books, How to Be a Jewish Parent
arrives as the definitive reference in its field. --Michael Joseph Gross
From Publishers Weekly
How do you advise anyone how to be a parent? With so many parenting styles and types of families today, the answer is almost necessarily to offer choices. In fact, Diamant, author of several Jewish handbooks and the best-selling novel The Red Tent, and Kushner, a clinical social worker, call their easy-to-read guide "a book of choices" whose agenda is "to raise happy, healthy children by providing a window into Judaism's rich, varied and life-affirming traditions and values." Sections on making a Jewish home, finding community, celebrating holidays and observing life-cycle rituals from birth to death are chock-full of innovative strategies, practical explanations, age-appropriate suggestions and bibliographies to foster Jewish literacy. The book explores every avenue for enriching Jewish life, from affixing a play mezuzah on a doll's house and having a family joke fest on the joyous Purim holiday to shopping for a synagogue, school or camp. A chapter on conflict acknowledges the tensions that arise between spouses, or between parents and children, based on differing perceptions of "how to be Jewish and how Jewish to be." Diamant and Kushner gear their recommendations to the liberal Jewish community. Parents who are just beginning their Jewish journeys as well as those who are already knowledgeable and experienced will benefit from their wise, creative ideas. (Sept.)
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