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After reading this blog article on

How to Do 8 Nights of Hanukkah Without Creating Spoiled Brats | Raising Kvell.

By

We wanted to share some thoughts from our Center for Counseling, Growth and Development department.

Celebrating the Holidays In an

Interfaith Home

The December holidays present particular challenges for interfaith families.  Parents think about their own holiday traditions and what the children will miss, if they have decided to practice one faithIf you can accept that there will be compromises then you are halfway there. 

While the parents‘ needs are important, it is better to keep the focus on the children’s needs. Use every celebration of a holiday as a teachable moment. Children should be given knowledge and education of each parent’s particular faith, even if they are being raised with one religion.  Be sensitive and always be ready with an honest answer to their questions.

The parents should be responsible for coming to a mutual decision about how the holidays will be celebrated and share the decision with their children.  Leaving the decision to children may cause them to be confused and worried that they will choose unwisely and offend a parent.  Susan Weissmann, Clinical Director at Jewish Family Services (JFS), states “It is key to help children understand that they can enjoy each parent’s holiday without betraying either parent or their religious upbringing.”

It may be agreed upon that both holidays are celebrated in the household, which can give the children a greater understanding of the different ways people observe his or her faith.  Allowing them to delight in the full array of traditions will only enhance their awareness of this culturally diverse world. If only one faith is practiced then find common ground.  All religious and cultural holidays have at least the shared element of harmony.

By openly communicating, showing respect for each person’s faith, and being flexible, the holidays can be a celebration for all.  JFS wishes you a Happy Hanukah, Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanzaa or any other tradition your family celebrates at this time of year.

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In a few days, Jews around the world will celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.  This is not the same type of celebration revelers enjoy on the eve of January 1st but a time when we review our deeds from the past year with the hope of improving ourselves and our actions in the year to come.  Rosh Hashanah serves as an annual reminder that we must constantly work at becoming better people throughout the year.

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The traditional Rosh Hashanah greeting, “L’shana Tova Tikatevu – may you be inscribed in the Book of Life,” speaks to our profound desire to be ethical and moral human beings, to be better than in the past year.  Rosh Hashanah helps us remember that those of us who are fortunate have the responsibility to make the world a better place for those who struggle.

The message of Rosh Hashanah rings true today as it has for thousands of years.  Today, it is more important than ever to believe in the power of compassion to repair our world; a tradition which is at the core of Jewish Family Services’ mission.

At a time when our friends and neighbors may be struggling to put food on their tables and keep roofs over their heads, it is up to every one of us to do what we can to help them.  Over the last year, JFS has helped thousands of individuals and families in Central Florida get back on their feet; however, still more of our neighbors need our help.

During the high holidays, when we look at ourselves and look to how we can improve the world, I urge you to join JFS in our efforts.  Learn more about JFS during or Evening of Valor fundraiser in October, take up a food collection drive, volunteer to deliver meals to a home bound elderly person this September or make a donation of time, money or other resources to help less fortunate members of the community. If you haven’t already done so, contact info@jfsorlando.org and we’ll talk about how you can join us in making your corner of the world a better place for all.

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Have you ever been hungry… not known where your next meal was coming from…or how you were going to feed your children? What a tough situation to be in – to have to put your children to bed with empty bellies.

Hunger is a very large problem in Central Florida. 17% of the population of the state of Florida has food insecurities – that’s nearly 1 in 5 people!

At Jewish Family Services we are doing what we can to alleviate hunger.  But we need your help! We are getting ready for the annual Feinstein Challenge – our biggest food drive of the year. The campaign runs from March 1st through April 30th. This is a nation-wide event and community participation is essential. Please let us know if you can help by doing a food drive, or just bringing in some food items to our pantries. Next time you’re at Publix or Winn-Dixie and they have a Buy-One-Get-One, pick up one for yourself and one for someone in need.  Or when Albertson’s has the 10 items for $10, buy a couple for yourself and donate the rest to help stock JFS’ pantries.

If you are interested in doing a food drive and don’t know how to start, please visit our website www.jfsorlando.org and follow the link on how to run a food drive.

There is plenty of food to go around – we just need to make sure that everyone has access to this food. Hunger does not need to be a problem in this country. Help be part of the solution.

 

 

 

 

Adrienne Cooperman
JFS Emergency Services Program Manager

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