Let gthem be good jewsUsing Torah as a parenting guide for non Jews. I wonder if they ever get to that part about stoning a rebellious child. Or was it rebelling against a stoned child?

An article in the NYTimes discusses a nascent movement that teaches middle and upper-middle class parents about child rearing using traditional Jewish texts. According to Wendy Mogel Ph.D, the author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, using the philosophy behind Jewish laws regarding hospitality to guests, teaching your child to swim and Shabbat as parenting guidelines can help an otherwise sheltered child become self reliant.

The article is rather lengthy, but if you can trudge through the 2 page explanation of how the author arrived at her ideas, it might be worth the read. Or… you can continue to rely on your secular humanist crunchy granola methods. Go ahead! Take your kids to soccer practice. Let them play goyishe games like lacrosse and, hashem help us, football (!!). Go vacation in the Galapagos Islands. Send your kids to after school classes so that they can learn Chinese. Lavish them with every material advantage while leaving the daily tasks of their upbringing and supervision to a series of Dominican nannies. Do help raise the next generation of soulless, self-indulgent, neurotic Jews with Mommy issues. In the meantime, the Evangelicals, upper middle class African Americans professionals and Asian immigrants who read Wendy Mogel’s book will raise more Jewish children than you.

See if I care. At least someone will benefit from thousands of years of acquired Jewish wisdom.

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • This is a fantastic book. It caught my eye while preusing B&N, and my wife and I picked it up. It turned out to be a great read. Jewish principles aside, there are some great parenting ideas inside. A lot of things are common sense, but that’s probably what most parents these days are lacking.

    MY wife and I read and re-read the book regularly. It should be a must-read for all parents, tribe-members or not.

  • The boys in my son’s Yeshiva class are such wild animals (except my precious genius, of course) that I think they need a good 5 hours of watching mindless cartoons, running around on a soccer field, a shot glass full of vodka and ritalin and some time playing air guitar to the Rolling Stones. A few of them can shoot hoops and they all bentch beautifully, but these 3rd graders scare me more than the ones down in the ‘hood next door. Thanks for allowing me to vent my New Year’s anti-Yeshiva venom. My poor boy goes to school on Sundays now and the odds of him ever learning to play football, soccer or softball are looking slimmer and slimmer…ask him what happens if his ox breaks someone’s jug in the middle of the road, that he can tell you. Ancient wisdom belongs in ancient times. Today’s world requires an ability to get along with everyone outside your own ghetto.

  • And on the Nanny issue, they come from all countries…Poland, Russia,Trinad and Haiti to watch the kids run around on the pavement all day on the High Holidays here because Ema and Aba have to pray. These are the same Nannies that watch the kids during the week because both parents have to work to afford the renovated Kosher kitchen with Milkig, Parve, Fleishig and Pesach sections, then there’s the $200 esrog, the $3000 sheitel, the $500 Borsalino, the minivan and the tuition. I don’t know what this generation of Nannies is helping to raise here in the Shtetl, but it’s certainly not true Jews.

  • I agree with Rabbi Yonah,

    However why don’t we try to get Jews to actually to learn some Torah and Talmud? That might stop why “Bernie runs”.

  • It would be great if Jewish day schools could become the new Catholic schools. Private schools that everyone wants to send their kids to because they are a good option: great education, good values, etc.

    Also, I’d like to point out that at least one Jewish day school has a football team Emery/Weiner in Texas, and I think La Jolla County Day in San Diego too…

  • Annie,

    Would be great! however guys like the Middle who care more about fitting into goyish society and watering down Judaism to fit their needs wouldn’t dare to send their kids to a Day School because that would mean finding out everything Daddy taught me was hogwash and then finding out mommy isn’t a real Jew. Those are the reasons why there was a big backlash against day schools.

  • Cactus, isn’t it about time you opened your own little blog? I think you should. The world is clamoring to hear what you have to say.

  • אלוהי, אלוהי, למה עזבת את עמך ישראל? למה נתת לנו מטומטמים כמו “קקטוס ×’’ק?” איך חטאנו? איך נוכל להתחרט כדי שנפטר ממנו? תגיד את האמת, אלוהים…תגיד שהוא לא יהודי…תגיד שהוא נפל מהתחת של פרה כמו איזה גולם לתקופה המודרנית…תגיד שהוא יצירת השטן…או לפחות תשבור לו את אצבעות…אני מתחנן בפניך

  • Michael,

    funny that you dont put that in English so the rest of the people on this messageboard do not read it. That might be the most biggest sin of all bashing someone who is actually a G-d fearing person and telling him to go hell and cursing his birth(I’m not even going to reference the others).

    I guess you think Rashi, Rambam, and RAmban should all go to hell as well.

    Michael- The Truth hurts doesn’t it?

  • Wow! Cactus Jack sort of speaks Hebrew! Surprising! Except I didn’t tell you to go hell or curse your birth. (Although, for those curious, I hypothesized that he had perhaps fallen from the ass of a cow like a golem for the modern age and expressed a wish that God would break his fingers. He had it comin’!)

    I don’t think Rashi, Rambam or Ramban should go to hell, just you. Okay, NOW I’ve told you go to Hell. Oh, and I curse your birth. What, are you in the league of Rashi, Rambam and Ramban because you spent a week in a yeshiva? My, how standards have fallen.

    So can you do as all a favor and go fear God somewhere else? May I recommend among the other God-fearers at FrumTeens? I think you’ll find you fit in there intellectually very well.

  • Aw, Michael is so happy to have found a country! He even learned the language and adopted the proper patronizing attitudes and everything!

    Piously anti-religious, tribally defensive and effortlessly dismissive of whatever you don’t do.
    Welcome home soldier, to the place that accepts you completely once you’re exactly the kind of asshole you’re supposed to be.

    Get ready for an exciting future of always knowing exactly what side you’re on.

  • Shit! that wasn’t what I came down to the comment box to say! I was just distracted by how obnoxiously that which I resent about Israelihood Michael has started to personify, lo these last three or four posts. Arrogant, unfunny meanness, where the punch line is constantly: Ha, ha! what a fool you are for being who you are, not who we are! Sometimes with a threat of “and you’ll get beaten up for it by my people” tacked in for extra us-pride. What happened to when you were funny too?

    But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. I met an Americanized Vietnamese lady in the subway the other day, she was tellling me that she went to schools where she was taught Vietnamese, in America, using old religious texts from different cultures, primarily from the Gemara.

    Her school used the Gemara to teach americanized kids Vietnamese. Isn’t that WEIRD? she was quoting me braisas from brachos by heart! WTF?

  • Oh Yoseph. I don’t want, need or expect anyone to be like me. In fact, I’d prefer that they weren’t, I sort of like uniqueness. And I’ve never threatened to beat anyone up, except this one kid in seventh grade, but he deserved it. I mean, I’ve made fun of the secular, the religious, the Arabs, the Charedim, the hippies, the hipsters, the Kahanists, the ISMniks, this very blog, and myself. It would be hard to argue that I’m shooting for a particular ideological goal here. I mean, really…be who you want to be! I don’t care! But I still might laugh at you!

  • All I can say is that Cactusjack has been attacking people here for weeks now using his supposed piety as a hammer. Yet, it seems he’s a tad sensitive when the favor is returned.

  • Yeaaaah, I’m just projecting all my evils on Israel and her lovers again. I’d never accuse you of any particular ideologizing, it’s just… there’s some rootsy and rugged norms in Israel that are so mean and rough, and demand, i feel like, or at least encourage, a certain joyful warm thugginess of us… Like there’s really only a certain kind of acceptable Israeliality, that allows some diversity, as long as we still identify “correctly.” It’s not exactly constant, although something in it feels… imposed somehow?

    I’m just a big wuss, who resents the price of belonging sometimes. Thanks for laughing dude, although i’m curious: what did the kid do in seventh grade?

  • N Nakh Nakhma Nakhman Me’uman! 😀

    I saw some dude wearing one of those at my (compassionate) Conservative shul ’round here on Yom Kippur. Maybe he was looking for a white kippah? Weirdness!

  • I love nothing more than hypocrisy. That’s why I come to this blog daily. To see the putz who mentiones a golem falling from a cow’s ass and a Name much more holy than he could dream to pronounce. Also, CactusJack is probably closer to the league of Rambam,Rashi, and the Ramban by going to Yeshiva than you are. Stupid little boy, what he meant by his comment is that he follows what the Rashi,Rambam, and the Ramban taught, and that attacking his Judaism and observance with be in effect attacking them and what they stood for. Maybe you should put more time into your understanding of English, since we see you don’t “Waste” it on anything useful, like Talmud or Torah.You’re one to talk about “Fallen stanards” when you ridicule fear of G-D. Lovely hypocrisy, typical thought of those who mentality is dishonest and hypocritical to begin with. I’m sure the fellows at Frum Teens would be able to hold a more intelligent and respectful conversation/discussion/debate than the level which your brain has pitifully produced, or should I say failed to produce?
    To Chutzpah, I dunno if your comments were sarcastic or mild-sarcasm meant to attack. So I’ll leave that alone.
    And Mr. Yoseph, I’m going to assume ur a little Galut yid, so bvakasha chaver, keep the mouth shut about Israelis until you come live under a barrage of bullets and bombs, then criticize our patronizing,tribal, w/e attitudes. Good? Stay subservient to the Goy, my shtetl Yid brethren!

  • So quoth the Zionist Occupier, who writes to us from the conflict-stricken, sun-drenched, holy soil of…Connecticut. I guess the Zionists are trying to take over America! At least Yoseph Crack lives in Israel!

    Kahane Chai, cupcake!

  • I’d like to apologize for speaking the truth on here. Nothing but love to all Yehudim on here! Althought I do pray that you all seek out and search the truth, if not that’s your own choice. One day you all “BH” will get it.

    I just was confused cause up above it says 100% Kosher so I figured this was a Kosher website. It’s kosher in the sense of Bagels and Lox on Sundays and then Chinese food at Wu’s on the westside.

    Stay well! Stay Healthy! Happy JEW YEAR!

  • Michael,

    why in the world would you call him a “cupcake”? Are you trying to start a fight with Zionist? We’re Jews we shouldn’t be fighting– but if you did, my money is on him.

    Shalom – Peace man, come on now. At least get into a war of words.

  • The truth, CactusJack, is that you hate a lot of Jews. You have a very weird notion of affinity where whoever doesn’t toe your line is somehow a vile pseudo-Jew.

    If you really seek to have an impact, by the way, there’s a guy over at Jewschool who is a pious Jew, who sees himself as closer than some of us to Rambam and Rashi and who uses his piety to win brownie points (remind you of somebody?) to conclude that he rejects Zionism (and presumably Zionists). You really are wasting your time with us since we are merely bagel and lox Jews and you should head over there where they are real Jews, just like you (!!), but a tad confused due to, um, hash youth. They could really use a dose of the “truth.”

  • middle – Cactus’ problem isn’t his superiority complex but his redundancy. You’ve been goaded, my friend, by a young man who seems a bit lost and is trying to find something to latch onto. I understand it, I’ve been there, in the days before blogs when we only had various student organizations (i.e. Palestinian Student Org., Jews For Jesus Org., Progessive Students Org.) to argue with face to face. It’s not that Cactus shouldn’t be here – it’s that maybe he’s already made his point and is only commenting to goad you into a response that will fall on deaf ears or ridicule. He will grow one day – hopefully – to become wiser and more open-minded and able to communicate outside of the internet. I’ve been dealing with these people all my life and the biggest struggle is to see through their pained rhetoric and find the real person within. Hard to do in the blogosphere, of course.

    He asked that you to engage in a “war of words.” Since when has a war of words ever solved anything. Now an honest debate, that’s another story… redundancy doesn’t fly in a debate.

    Cactus – “we’re Jews and we shouldn’t be fighting?” Did you just admit that middle and I are, in fact, “Jewish”?

  • A. I haven’t been goaded.

    B. I care little about him.

    C. We’ve had him on here for weeks and nobody from Jewlicious has said anything. He certainly hasn’t been debated and I’m guessing that’s because the others care as little as I do. It is, however, pushing away other guests who are welcome here. He’s had a fair, uncontested chance to say his piece and now it’s time to explore other Jewish sites.

  • Middle – a) sorry about the “goaded” comment – of course I respect this blog and the need to keep it vibrant… I should know enough when to stop engaging the kids… b) i’m being stupidly paternalistic towards this young man… c)you’re reiterating my point about his being redundant – although sending him over to Jewschool is deliciously wicked.

    d) but he did finally admit we are Jewish…

  • D. I don’t care whether he, Moshe Katzav, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef or even the spirit of Mother Theresa consider me Jewish. My father in law is the only one who counts. 😉

  • Katsav? middle – you put “I’m not really touching your nipples” Katsav and Mother Theresa in the same sentence… my god… I’m spritzing here… kvelling… all this tsuris… but why can’t we just love each other… awww… screw it!

  • Returning to your original topic I worry yeshiva kids are being asked to do much too much…Jewish studies and secular and sports and computers.I would much prefer they concentrate on a few subjects and went deeper and more slowly. The current system teaches them how to move paper at best..

  • Hey! Don’t be presumptuous, Middle-Man. You may not care about our little friend Cactus Jack, but I do. I’m worried about him. You see, I’ve been observing his behavior and postings on this blog, and I think his violent, confrontational, “us and them” brand of Judaism is the result of his somewhat unconvincing repression of the fact that he’s gayer than a strawberry shortstack. I mean, did you SEE the comments about pro-wrestling? The ones where he admitted a great affection for sweaty men grappling with each other but took great pains to say, “BUT I’M NOT A HOMO!”

    Put on the Liza, we’ve got a live one!

    So my wish for Cactus Jack is that he’ll come to accept his own desires, and settle down with a nice Jewish boy, which will no doubt moderate him a little. I mean, I’ve known plenty of Jewish gay guys, and none of them has ever issued forth any screaming diatribes about “true Judaism,” so really, we all win here. Cactus Jack gets laid, and we don’t have to listen to him anymore.

    What do you think?

  • I picked up this book a year or so ago, even though I’m single and just an aunt. I thought it was wonderful and passed it along to my sister (I’m Jewish, she isn’t) and told that I thought it was very important.

    A slim volume, but will help grow strong adults.

  • Leah wrote: A slim volume, but will help grow strong adults.

    You know what grows strong adults? Lifting all the volumes of the Talmud! 🙂 The reader’s digest version won’t work.

  • So does carrying Torah–but you lift what you can lift.

    Consider this book to be 2 lbs weights that lead to 20 lbs that lead to 200 lbs.

    er… bad exercise metaphors… must eat lunch.

  • The Middle (and also Laya, for a related comment I can’t find.) –

    It is, however, pushing away other guests who are welcome here.

    –Thank you for saying what you did.

    Green Jew and Leah: Cool! I’ve eyed this book on Amazon for a possible gift for my sister (similar situation to L’s). Glad to have your review.

    There is the story of an elderly rabbi whose grandson was SO pious, studying for hours on end, that he (grandson) didn’t hear his new baby crying. So Rabbi Zayde comforted the baby, and the next day told his grandson, when you hear a baby crying, you put down the Gemara and you pick up the baby.

    (Also a good lifting workout!)

  • I love being a fly on the wall watching the family…err, tribes I guesss, fued. I picked up a few keepers. 🙂

  • Jewlicious should consider some reality TV episodes. I know it would be highly entertaining and could make you millions to be used to sponsor many more Free Birthright trips, which could be used as material for more episodes.

    Remember, you heard it here first. All I want out of it is a free trip to Israel for someone who has no right. 😉

  • Whatever. I just live looking at thaat African American kid wearing the Breslover Kippah. And that Asian kid looks like a Bnei Akivanik. Cracks me up!

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