Giant baskets overflowed with volleyballs, playground balls, baseballs, basketballs and soccer balls. The fabulous decorations were the beginning of a mitzvah project that would live on long after the bar mitzvah boy had read his haftorah, celebrated his milestone, opened his gifts and written all those thank-you notes.
As the doctor predicted, the breath-holding eventually subsided. By the time my second son came along, my child-rearing methods had evolved considerably.
Long Beach has had a significant and stable Jewish population for decades, so it might seem unusual for a synagogue to make major changes in the way it serves its membership and the community. In recent months, however, individuals and families in the area have been reevaluating their choices as a new option for affiliation has surfaced.
As any Jewish parent knows, it is not unusual for children to resist attending Hebrew school, just as they complain about doing their homework or practicing the piano. During the preteen years, childrens' comprehension of what God means to them is still under development. However, some say parents need to think about how committed they are to raising Jewish children.
I joined my first gym while in college. My friends and I signed up for a three-month trial together, intending to rid ourselves of the proverbial freshman 10 -- the end result of late-night doughnut runs.
Years ago, when my son was beginning his foray into competitive tennis, I entered him in a local, somewhat low-key tournament intended to introduce new players to tennis competition. I thought it would be fun. But as I watched my son's match, the activity one court over distracted me. A father was screaming at his son from the sideline, for making an error. The boy grew frustrated and angry; their interchange was embarrassing.
An official informed the father that he'd be removed if he could not keep quiet. A short while later, when the boy lost, he threw his racquet and burst into tears. He could barely bring himself to shake his opponent's hand.
Surprised? Not really. While there are multiple reasons some kids end up being bad sports, parents usually receive the most blame -- something we moms and dads ought to consider as another sports season is set to kick off.
Years ago, when my son was beginning his foray into competitive tennis, I entered him in a local, somewhat low-key tournament intended to introduce new players to tennis competition.
Mothers Advocating Prevention (MAP) developed a safety education program based on information gathered primarily from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Over the past four years, trained educators have taken the interactive, age-appropriate presentations into classrooms in public schools across the Palos Verdes Peninsula, reaching thousands of children.
The following conversation took place between a cellular telephone subscriber and her daughter:
Youngsters across the Southland and beyond banded together April 17 to participate in J-Serve 2005, the first-ever national day of service for Jewish teens. J-Serve, designed to correspond with Youth Service America's National Youth Service Day, offers Jewish teens a way to get involved in tikkun olam projects in their local communities.
The Community Brief, news from around America.
The goal of the Arachim program is to help teens discover the opportunities that exist in their neighborhoods and communities, where their contributions make a significant difference in the lives of other people. The unique project is being observed by numerous synagogues and may serve as a model for communities trying to develop similar programs.
With their hands all but frozen, lips blue and feet soaking, nearly 50 South Bay teens and a large handful of adult volunteers braved the storm on Sunday, Dec. 5, to devote their afternoon to testing, cleaning and repairing bicycles.
It was in 1998 that my son, Sammy, broke out of his cocoon and started kindergarten at our neighborhood school. Up until then, he had spent his entire tiny life surrounded by Jews.
Having left his Jewish preschool behind only a few months prior, he had little knowledge of his own minority status in the world, not to mention in our South Bay community. But that didn't matter to him, at least as far as I knew.