5 Tips for Talking with Children About Anti-Semitism

Written by Courtesy of JSSA on . Posted in Advice Columns

There are well-established strategies in place for helping young people cope with tragic events, but when dealing specifically with acts of anti-Semitism, a more fine-tuned approach can be helpful. To help you navigate these emotionally-charged and uncertain times, here are five tips from the Jewish Social Services Agency (JSSA) for talking to children about anti-Semitism.

Gaining My Religion — Losing My Family?

Written by Editor on . Posted in Advice Columns

Have a question for Rivkie? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Dear Rivkie,

 My husband and I recently started to take on greater Jewish observance while raising our young family. We’ve started keeping kosher and observing Shabbos. Additionally, our oldest son is turning 3 soon, and after a lot of thought we decided to have an upsherin for him (a haircutting celebration for Jewish boys upon turning 3).

Yom Kippur Struggles

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Dear Rivkie,

 Yom Kippur is just around the corner and I’m unsure how to improve my experience this year. Usually, I spend the day hungry and grouchy, and I find it hard to concentrate on the service while thinking about what to eat after the fast! I want to do teshuva (repentance) and I know there are plenty of things I did wrong this year, but I am so distracted I feel like I don’t give it my all on Yom Kippur. What can I do to make Yom Kippur more meaningful this year?

Struggling to Move On

Written by Editor on . Posted in Advice Columns

My boyfriend and I dated for two years. Last month, I decided to end the relationship. However, he continues to email and text me, asking to meet. He says he wants to talk in person so he can have closure. However, we have already had several conversations, and I shared my reasons for wanting to end the relationship. I prefer not to meet, and his constant texts and emails are very upsetting to me. I don’t want to cause him more pain, but I need him to accept my choice and move forward. What can I do to make this happen?

Creating a Safe Space for Children of Divorce

Written by Editor on . Posted in Advice Columns

Have a question about a relationship that you or someone you know is in? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and your question may be answered in a future article.

Chofetzing Chaim

Written by Editor on . Posted in Advice Columns

Why it pays to keep a civil tongue at the table.

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 Dear Rivkie,

 With all the Yomim Tovim (holidays) behind us, I’ve been thinking about the lashon hara (derogatory speech) I heard around the table when getting together with friends and family. And not just as an observer; I oftentimes (I am ashamed to admit) participated in the discussion! This is especially hard to imagine myself doing just days after all the teshuva (repentance) for this and a multitude of other sins on Yom Kippur, but it seems to happen every year.

Joining in the Children’s Game

Written by Dr. Michael Milgraum on . Posted in Advice Columns

Parenting experts have much to say about behavioral management, the methodical approach to parenting that seeks to rationally examine and structure expectations, environment, and consequences. While this approach has much merit, it is incomplete and often ineffective if it lacks something that we might call “relationship management.”

Rebuilding Ourselves on Yom Kippur

Written by Dr. Michael Milgraum on . Posted in Advice Columns

Yom Kippur looms on the horizon. We have traveled through Elul, that month of soul searching, inner accounting, and resolve to change. We’ve listened to the shofar blasts on Rosh Hashanah, that heart-piercing sound, which Maimonides tells us is designed to wake us from our spiritual slumber. We have intoned the words: “On Rosh Hashanah it is written and on Yom Kippur, it is sealed.” In this time of judgment, we all engage in a great deal of self-judgment. How do we keep up our spirits and find confidence that we can, in fact, improve, rather than dropping into feelings of helplessness, anxiety, and despair?

Carpool Rules

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Dear Rivkie,

 School has barely started and I’m already dreading carpool. I am a parent in a carpool mostly with new people, and I don’t know them well at all. Some of the people seem super uptight and constantly comment on group emails, while others barely answer at all. Someone already got angry with another carpool member about switching days. I’m not great with Google Docs, so I’m having a hard time working with the spreadsheet we’re using, but I’m too nervous to ask someone to help!

Helping Your Child Find His Tribe

Written by Editor on . Posted in Advice Columns

Have a question for Rivkie? Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dear Rivkie,

 It’s back-to-school time, and my 14-year-old son is dreading it. He misses his friends from sleepaway camp and doesn’t gel with the boys in his class the same way (he is brainy and into science fiction and history, and they are ... let’s just say, not). This happens literally every year since he started going to camp at age 10. Short of mail-ordering new classmates, what can we do to help him accept and connect with the peers he does have instead of wishing he was back at camp?