Parents of Religious School students expand their own Jewish learning

by | Mar 16, 2023 | What’s Happening

Next class: Sunday, March 26, 10 am

Ohef Sholom Temple, free

The Konikoff Center for Learning of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater is partnering with Ohef Sholom Temple to offer the course, The Foundations of Jewish Family Living. These classes take place on Sunday mornings when the participants’ children attend Religious School.

The course’s text-based learning allows every parent raising Jewish children to grapple with Jewish text, no matter their level of previous Jewish education or their own religious affiliation. The texts studied include stories from the Tanakh (Jewish Bible), a variety of Torah commentary (midrashim), and many of the teachings of rabbis and leaders of Jewish thought.

Each class ties together the Jewish values and issues found in the text with matters the families may face at home. For instance, the first class focused on stories, values, and the importance of tzedakah (righting injustice). After studying texts from the Tanakh and reading commentary on the levels of tzedakah by Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (Maimonides), the discussion turned to how chores are a child’s first act of tzedakah. “In order to practice ‘right action,’ children need both skills (competence to do what is good) and motivation (the will to take on responsibility),” says Dr. Wendy Mogel, clinical psychologist and Jewish educator. “Doing chores—looking after themselves and helping the family—are their first good deeds.”

At the start of the second class, one parent shared how what they learned in the first class inspired them to build out their children’s responsibilities at home. These types of stories demonstrate the rich possibilities that arise when deep discussions around Jewish texts become applicable to families’ everyday lives.

“I love the partnership we have created with UJFT this year,” says Alyson Morrissey, director of Lifelong Learning at Ohef Sholom Temple. “Having the Foundations of Jewish Family Living classes here has been very meaningful for our parents and community.”

The Foundations of Jewish Family Living classes are free and open to all parents in the community. At the next class, Living Beyond the Day to Day, participants will use Jewish texts as a foundation for discussing the importance of actively seeking rest and renewal during their busy lives and how Shabbat can be a space for that break or at least provide valuable lessons on how to make space for it.

To learn more or to register, visit or contact Sierra Lautman at

Sierra Lautman