“And you should teach them to your children and speak of them when you sit in your house”:
Parents and Their Young Child meeting on Subject from Parasha

Orit Avneri

This project is based on several assumptions:
First, every parent wants to connect with his/her children and s/he strives to educate them to find favor and attain wisdom in the eyes of both God and man. Secondly, the torah is the wellspring of our lives as Jews, and from it we draw our world of values. Thirdly, in our busy lives, most parents find little quality time to spend with our children during the week.

This project is designed to provide a program of weekly learning sessions between parents and their preschool children, ages 4 – 5.

The content of these sessions is based on the weekly parasha. The program attempts to present the Biblical text according to its plain meaning (Pshat). In each weekly portion, a topic has been selected which focuses on a particular value in order to teach and help the child internalize these values through torah study. The unspoken, but ever present message in this approach is that the torah constitutes our entire world as well as everything surrounding it.

A description of the session: In order that each child receive maximum attention from the parent, it is proposed that the session be held with each child individually. The parent should plan the meeting with this particular child and his specific needs in mind (without taking into consideration the needs of the other sibs in the family). Thereby the child will have the opportunity to express himself freely and to internalize the topic of discussion at his own level of understanding. The time spent in these meetings will be special and personal, with the intention that the child will look forward to these sessions and will feel extremely positive about them.

Time of the meetings: The sessions are intended for Shabbat. In the nature of things, on Shabbat the parent is less pressured than during the week. An added advantage of choosing Shabbat for the activity is the reduction of outside stimuli, such as television and telephone.

The intention of this program is that these sessions will influence the home atmosphere and will be used as an educational model for desirable communication between the parent and child.

The program consists of several stages for work on each parasha:

  1. A preparatory task which the parent and child do together during the week.

  2. The core of the project: the meeeting on Shabbat.

  3. A concluding weekday session following the Shabbat encounter.

This project presents sample programs for two parashot: Matot-Masei and Haazinu. These weekly torah portions were selected because of their problematic content for young children. An attempt was made to demonstrate how these particular parashot can be translated into meaningful material for parents and their young children, both demonstrating a particular value while maintaining the integrity of a developmentally appropriate approach.


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