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HOT TOPIC: Can adding a spiritual dimension enhance a child’s Jewish identity and practice?

February 26, 2013
by

Yehudis Fishman

SOUL NURTURE: IGNITING AND MAINTAINING CHILDREN’S INTEREST IN JUDAISM

 If I had one message to deliver to anyone who cares about Jewish children, it would be “Don’t extinguish the young embers!”  I can speak not only for myself, but also for hundreds of former students. A key factor in awakening and fostering interest in Jewish education is a passion and exposure to aspects of Judaism that can rival the longing that children have for the mysterious. In this left-brained, competitive, and achievement-oriented world, it often is rationalized out of them in contemporary educational circles, across many denominations.

Speaking about “orient,” is it any wonder than that so many of our Jewish youth are attracted to Eastern cultures and even religions? There is a natural yearning in a pure neshama, perhaps hard-wired into the relatively neglected right brain area, for journeying into the unknown, and even cognitively, in contrast to experientially, unknowable, mystical areas of life.

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