It’s Summer Vacation and There’s Something Missing

Our Jewish community takes a break during the summer. We only have Torah services twice a month, and Tot Shabbat will resume in the fall. I understand why—our Rabbi gets some time to herself, to travel and study, and many of our congregants escape to Cape Cod or other cooler spots for weekend trips and longer vacations. Everything will pick up again in September, as we prepare for the High Holy Days and another year of holidays, bar and bat mitzvahs,
, and funerals.

The thing is, I miss my community. I miss the learning and the singing, the rituals and the bagels. Even though many of my fellow members aren’t my closest friends, they are people that I am happy to see each week. We ask about each other’s children and parents, and we remember the details of each other’s lives. We support each other in our journeys, and celebrate holidays together.

I also miss my Judaism. Yes, we listen to “synagogue music” (as my toddler calls it) each week, and we celebrate Shabbat each week, but it’s not the same. We don’t celebrate the minor holidays (such as the fast of 17th of Tammuz or
Tisha B’av
), and without services and holidays, Judaism just doesn’t seem as present our daily lives. In fact, without Kveller, I’m not sure how much I would be thinking about Judaism in our family these days—I’m more concerned about keeping my daughters cool in this blazing east-coast heat.

I don’t want it to be this way, but I’m not sure how to change things. I do want Judaism to be a bigger part of our daily lives, even in the summer (or perhaps especially in the summer). Yet our family isn’t interested in becoming Orthodox; we belong to a Reconstructionist synagogue that we love dearly, and that supports and reflects our values and beliefs.

Yet, I want more, for myself and for our family. Which is why I was really excited when I read this recent posting on for an upcoming class called “Parenting through a Jewish Lens” or Ikkarim (Hebrew for values). The class is offered throughout the greater Boston area, and starts this fall. It sounds like just what I have been looking for—another venue for integrating the two most important aspects of my life.

So I’m signing up. What about you?

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Carla Naumburg

Carla Naumburg, PhD, is a clinical social worker and writer. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post,The Huffington Post,,, The Jewish Daily Forward, and Psychology Today. She is the author of two books, Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters (Parallax, 2014) and Ready, Set, Breathe: Practicing Mindfulness with Your Children for Fewer Meltdowns and a More Peaceful Family (New Harbinger, 2015). Carla grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Bay Area of California, and she currently lives outside of Boston with her husband and two young daughters. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. Comments are moderated, so use your inside voices, keep your hands to yourself, and no, we're not interested in herbal supplements.

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