Teachings: Mitzvah Guidance

Will my grandchild be Jewish if his mother who has converted to Judaism has stopped her religious practice?

Dear Rabbi Milgram: My son married a woman who converted to Judaism through the London Beth Din. She now refuses to follow any Jewish practice. Is her conversion still valid? They have a baby boy who is now a year and a half will he be considered Jewish? By the way she forbids me to have any contact with the child. She is highly unstable and also prevents my son from having any contact with me or his brothers. I am in regular email contact with him. We are a shomer mitzvot family.... Though I doubt my son keeps anything now.

Creating a Personal Community

A personal kehillah, "community" is a small group of mentors/advisors that the student and family create to meeting monthly and contemplate the roles and issues of adulthood, to help the student emerge with dignity and awareness into adult life. Besides, it's terrible to be isolated and this can happy in suburbia, small towns, and some families - here's how to get past all that to meaningful connections. [Credit for the basis of this idea is due to Rabbi Geelah Rayzl and Dr. Simcha Raphael.]

Book Review: Bringing Zayde Home

This review by Rabbi Goldie Milgram of Sheri Sinykin's Zeyde Comes to Live was first published in the Philadelphia Jewish Voice.

Parent Bar/Bat Mitzvah Preparation Rituals

As the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah student become known to their peers in religious school, or through another context, it becomes clear that this experience is an initiation for them too, into being parents of a(nother) teenager, an evolving adult. This is a season of new parenting skills and perspectives.

One community of which I am aware holds a session of Bar/Bat Mitzvah prep where the parent(s) aren’t present so that the youth can outline any concerns that have been repressed. At such a session an assignment is planned for the parent(s)/guardian(s) that will help them prepare for the B-mitzvah day.

Is it Right to Serve and Film the Homeless on Christmas at a Synagogue

Dear Rabbi: (Note: This first appeared on Jewish Values On-Line)

Introduction to Tefillin and How to Put Them On

How are Tefiillin made?

Tefillin are a set of two leather boxes filled with parchments on which a scribe has written specific verses from the Torah, then attached the boxes to leather straps, each knotted so that one can go around your head and one around your weaker [non-dominant] arm. It is quite complex to make Tefiillin, and one is best served by buying good quality ones made by a scribe. The term tefillin (Aramaic) shares the root of tefillah, prayer.