Jewish Parenting 101 Borrows Lessons from this Rite of Passage


Parents beware! Your ‘baby’ is turning 13 in the next year; He or she will soon be participating in the Jewish community’s coming of age ritual. What’s an overly-involved parent to do?

Well, The Mitzvah Bowl co-founders, Valerie Franklin & Cheryl Friedenberg, want you to know this is the perfect opportunity to take a step back.


A Mitzvah project allows your child to help find their voice, learn more about their likes and dislikes, and, yes ….give them greater independence!

It starts with having your child choose a mitzvah project, which will keep them energized, excited and interested. They can ask the questions “what do I like to do?” “Is there a worthwhile project that I can delve into that would make a difference in my community? “Is there a cause that I am passionate about and in which I can get involved?”

As far as helping others, the opportunities are endless. Sometimes, all it takes is your teen’s imagination and courage, mixed with a little motivation, to begin creating a wonderful project.

Parents’ guidance is usually a needed step to begin the process, however, do not underestimate the resourcefulness of teens. They may take charge and surprise you with an amazing purposeful project! Do not push your teenager into a project that doesn’t interest them. This defeats the purpose and most likely is not the best fit for your kid.

Take your time with him/her finding the right match and then stop hovering. Let your daughter or son take ownership of their community service project. They can only experience pride if they can confidently state “I performed this mitzvah!”

by The Mitzvah Bowl co-founders, Valerie Franklin & Cheryl Friedenberg email:

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