Apr 4 2013
Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom Hashoah, begins the evening of this Sunday, April 7th. It’s hard enough for adults to grapple with the immense, inexplicable horror of the Holocaust, and can be harder still to find appropriate and meaningful ways to talk about it with young kids.
While there’s no one right way to do it, we do have a truly wonderful resource from Rabbi Sarah Reines that outlines key ideas to keep in mind when broaching this subject:
As our children learn about the Holocaust, we can help cultivate in them a sense of empowerment and responsibility through acts such as lighting a yartzeit (memorial) candle on Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), deciding as a family to donate to a charity for aging survivors or sharing stories about “righteous gentiles” who helped protect Jews from danger.
To read the rest of “How to Talk to Kids About the Holocaust,” click here.
Dec 17 2012
Normally the one to talk our kids through the milestones and tragedies of life, I found myself in the odd, and rare, position of being out-of-town as the tragedy in Connecticut was unfolding. From a thousand miles away, I could not hold them. Nor could I really talk to them from that distance.
Arriving home late Sunday night, I had no idea what, if anything, they knew about Sandy Hook. I didn’t know if they were afraid. Or sad. Or anything. What I did know is that I wanted to control the information. I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. Read the rest of this entry →
I have made many mistakes as a parent. But none as terrible as the one I made this weekend. I am struck by this realization as I drive my son to school this morning.
Perhaps it is the act of tapping the brakes that triggers my remorse. This is exactly where I sat on Friday when I heard the news of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I was sitting in the driver’s seat when I mistakenly decided not to discuss this news with my son.
Turning off the car radio and wiping the tears from my face with my sweatshirt sleeve, I inched forward in the carpool line. When he closed the car door behind him and tugged his seatbelt into place, I asked the same question that I ask every afternoon: “How was your day today?” Five words. Then I listened intently as he answered, glancing in the rearview mirror, memorizing his animated expression, making a deliberate choice to attempt to shield him from the horrific story I’d heard before he got into the car. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 18 2012
Tomorrow, March 19th, is Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day. It’s never easy to talk about the Holocaust with your kids, but here is one mother’s attempt:
The five of us were walking to temple for the Purim megillah reading last month, when my husband made an off-handed reference to two out of three Jews in Europe being “gone.”
“Gone?” my 8-year-old, who has a gift for not hearing commands to clean his room when you are standing right in front of him, but suddenly develops bat-ears when you are looking away and not talking to him at all, wanted to know. “Where did they go?”
My husband and I exchanged looks, wondering what to say, when my 5-year-old daughter piped up, “Was it Pittsburgh?” (My brother moved to Pittsburgh a year ago.)
“Yes,” my husband said slowly. “Two out of three Jews of Europe moved to Pittsburgh.”
We promptly changed the subject. By that point, the kids had moved onto thinking about groggers and hamantashen, anyway. But, my husband and I realized that maybe it was finally time to have The Talk. Read the rest of this entry →