Any Jewish mamelahs in non-Jewish communities?

[deleted account] ( 15 moms have responded )

Hi mamas, lets get this board back to what its really for, discussing issues of Jewish parenting! My biggest concern as a Jewish mom is that we live in a very small Jewish community...we don't have a lot of choices as far as synagogues, religious school, day schools, or community events. I don't have a lot of Jewish moms to go to for advice. Are any of you in the same situation? What do you do? How do you instill Jewish values and identities in your children, and make sure they have an "authentic" Jewish upbringing, whatever that means to you?

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Bridget - posted on 05/14/2014

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I've found that a great way to enable our children to have wonderful Jewish experiences, whether or not you live near other Jews, is to send them to Jewish summer camp once they are old enough. There's even a foundation for Jewish camp that lists lots of camps on its website, and offers scholarships: http://www.jewishcamp.org/one-happy-camp... Though I didn't go to Jewish summer camp, many people I know as adults say that some of their best Jewish memories and friends were made at camp.
I hope that's helpful!

Bridget - posted on 05/14/2014

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I'm responding to Jessica, who said there's a synagogue in town, but they cannot afford to join it. Jessica, you said you hope to send your child to Jewish preschool and day school, if you can get scholarships, and that will be your plan, since you can't attend synagogue on Friday nights.
As a rabbi who has been a synagogue rabbi -- though now I do different work -- I would think that you'd be welcome to attend synagogue on Friday evenings whether or not you are members. Every synagogue i know of welcomes non-members to Shabbat services, and, in fact, to almost every event, except for High Holidays and perhaps some classes.
So, if you enjoy the synagogue, I encourage you to go to it, and not to worry about whether or not you are members.
I hope you get the scholarships!

Chana - posted on 11/04/2012

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Hi,

I grew up in a very tiny town. There were only a few other Jewish families that I was aware of. In my high school, there were two other Jewish kids besides my sister and myself. We felt left out when the other kids were hunting Easter eggs, trick-or-treating and decorating xmas trees. My mother was genius here. She made treasure maps for us during Halloween so we could find the candy she had hidden throughout the property. She allowed us to decorate the eggs we used on our seder plates and occasionally provided us with a "chanukah bush." I never doubted my Jewish identity. She sent me to Israel when I was in college. After that, I turned to Chabad and became very frum for some time.



For this reason, I would suggest that you seek out Chabad houses in your area. They often have many youth programs available. To find one in your area, http://www.chabad.org/centers/default_cd...



At this point in my life, I don't believe all of what Chabad stands for, but it was paramount for me to solidify myself as a Yid.

Patrice - posted on 01/07/2012

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It is very difficult! We are actually one of only two Jewish families in our town. Synagogue and activities have to be traveled to. I take my child as often as possible and teach hom Hebrew and Judaism at home, but it's hard. Especially since the Baptists have wonderful youth activities!

Patrice - posted on 01/07/2012

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It is very difficult! We are actually one of only two Jewish families in our town. Synagogue and activities have to be traveled to. I take my child as often as possible and teach hom Hebrew and Judaism at home, but it's hard. Especially since the Baptists have wonderful youth activities!

Atty - posted on 12/15/2011

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That is my situation exactly. There is one reform temple and a Chabad house in my area. I'm Conservative and the closest temple is about an hour away. The closest conservative mikvah is 2 hours away and don't even get me started on kosher groceries!
I have had to send my kids to the reform Hebrew School and Pre-school because that is all there is.
The area we live in has a small ELDERLY Jewish community and we are near a University so there is a small Jewish Student population, but most everyone is Christian, Buddhist or agnostic.
When it comes to other Jewish mom's I'm pretty limited too. Do I go to one of the Rebbitzen, a woman old enough to have known Moshe or my mother.... one of the Rebbitzen usually wins.
What I find difficult is the public schools here score poorly and the private are all Christian of one sort or another. Right now we make do with public and compensate with online classes too but I would love to live in a place with an actual Jewish community. For now I have to teach my kids that our community starts with the mezzuzah on the door. Outside is one world and inside our home is our sanctuary from the outside world.

Jessica - posted on 08/27/2011

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We live in Denver, one of the biggest cities in the country, and I STILL struggle with how we're going to incorporate Judaism into our every day lives. The synagogue my parents go to, that I grew up in, has absolutely ridiculously high membership fees, and although my parents have expressed a vested interest in my son being raised in the Jewish faith, they can't afford to pay for our monthly dues as well as their own.

We also plan on raising our child in an inter-faith household, simply for the fact that my husband's family is Catholic, and I want my son to grow up knowing BOTH sides of where he comes from.

We are going to send my son to a Jewish pre-school and the local Jewish day school (if we qualify for scholarships), so hopefully that will help him be proud of his Jewish heritage in our overly secular neighborhood, even if we can't always go to synagogue on Friday nights.

[deleted account]

Wow!!! Mazal tov, Kat. So you understand my complaints ;) I just want this kid out... hehe

Good luck. Hope you have a nice smooth and easy birth.

Thank you Sherree!

[deleted account]

Selena-I didn't know you were pregnant too! I'm due any minute, really not until Jan. 1 but my midwife thinks it will most likely be next week at the latest. Good luck!

Sherree - posted on 12/15/2010

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Yes you do! ..I'm sure that you have heard that each experience is different :-) ...I have three beautiful children and each pregnancy and delivery were very different from each other.

btw I love the pics you have been posting!

♥ to you and your beautiful family
♥ Sherree

[deleted account]

Thanks, at least I have an idea of what is to come!
I'm feeling a little better... I'll feel even better when this kid is born ;) One month to go...

Sherree - posted on 12/14/2010

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Hi Kat, we live in a town with a very small Jewish population. There are synagogues within the county, but not in our town.

Holiday time in the schools was always very challenging. I often did presentations in my children's classrooms as a guest speaker, to explain our holiday. (almost every year my children were the only Jewish kids..)
On yontefs I have to explain to please not send home extra homework,, explaining that we don't write/work/telephone/etc..on these days..

When they were in early elementary school my children would bring home "homework assignments" based on santa claus and leprechauns.. ..I would help my child turn the assignment into something related to a Jewish holiday, and then explain to the teacher why the project needed adjusting..

I kept my youngest home from school the day they had the halloween parade so that she wouldn't be upset being the only child not dressed up. oy.

My children have missed class pictures because picture day was scheduled on yontefs..

One year after doing a Purim presentation, they teacher thought the holiday was so cool that she invited her students to come in the next day dressed up for Purim! Now THAT was a surprise

We joined a synogogue, and enrolled my children in school. I was very concerned with my children having a Jewish education (equally for my boy and my girls). A few years later I accepted a position teaching in our school.

One year our school calendar said that although absences for religious holidays are legally excused, we are to make every effort to schedule them after hours. !!!!!! I wrote a very polite and to the point letter to the superintendant of the school and copied Jewish Federation!

It is not easy being Jewish in a non-Jewish town,, I realize I am singing to the choir!! :-) We try the best that we can to be good examples for our children, and show our children that our values and good judgements are based on our Jewish teachings.

..Kat I think I rambled a bit, but I agree, that this is an important conversation to continue!

♥ Sherree

[deleted account]

Thank YOU Selena! I think this time of year is tough for those us without much community. Just trying to fight against the insane commercialism...oy!!! Its the little things too; my son is in Cub Scouts with one other Jewish boy, and they are having a Christmas Party, during Chanukah! I don't want to keep him from going if he wants to, but really? I guess I shouldn't be surprised, they scheduled the big campout on Yom Kippur!

[deleted account]

Yes!!!! I've just moved last month to a community where the closest Jewish community is an hour away! I think we're the only Jews in town ;)
I find it even harder because its close to the Christmas holidays... if another person asks me if my daughter is excited for Santa to come I'm gonna snap ;) Okay maybe not snap...hehe!... I understand they're all just trying to be nice but it does make a person lonely.
I would love to have others to go to for advice! I'm also worried about raising my kids in a non-Jewish community.
Thanks so much for this post Kat.

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