Amy Melzer keeps Homeshuling: A Jewish parenting blog Beliefnet and she talks about the joys and challenges of faith formation in the home.

She writes:

I’ve discovered and rediscovered, too many times to count, that shul doesn’t really work for my family.

For one, my daughters are five and six. Too old to while away the hours breastfeeding, but too young to spend the morning trying to break into the vending machines the way I did when I was a kid. (Plus, our shul doesn’t have a vending machine. Do any shuls have candy machines these days?) We show up for “tot-shabbat” now and then, but it’s only once a month, and it’s a starting to get a little too, well, tot-y for us.

Second of all, my husband is not Jewish. He’s not anything else, either, but he’s definitely not of the tribe. Since he doesn’t read Hebrew, didn’t grow up with the melodies, and isn’t particularly interested in the Bible, there isn’t much going on within the four walls of the synagogue that is accessible or meaningful for him. It’s more important for me that our family be together on Shabbat, and all feel good about where we are, than for us be at shul.

Mostly, though, almost everything I love about being Jewish happens at home. There’s the food, of course, and the making of the food. And the talking about the food. (Remember the Jackie Mason bit – “At lunch, Jews talk about dinner; after dinner they talk about where to get coffee, and after that, where to get cake….?” That’s totally us.) There’s lifting up our daughters so they can reach the shabbat candlesticks that belonged to my mother’s grandmother; or watching my daughters play Pharoah and the Jews with their Polly Pockets after reading PJ Library books about Passover; lying side by side in our sleeping bags, staring at the stars, while trying to fall asleep in the sukkah (and never quite making in through the night); and all the other precious moments I’ll be blogging about.

One of these days we may find a shul that gives us all that. But for now, we’re home-shuling. I hope you’ll visit us here from time to time. And don’t forget to introduce yourself!

What are the joys and challenges of faith formation in your home? What is taught and experienced at home that forms the faith of children (and adults) that does not necessarily happen in church?

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