Tag Archives: The Mussar Institute

B’ruchim Habaim, the blessing of welcoming

B’ruchim Habaim, the blessing of welcoming, is based in ancient Judaism and was modeled by Abraham and Sarah in the Book of Genesis. Abraham does four things that exhibit welcoming behavior. As guests arrived at the tent of Abraham and Sarah, they were warmly greeted, made comfortable, offered food, and given attention. Much has changed since the days of Abraham and Sarah, but we are still welcoming others into our tents (homes).

How can we teach our children the middah (value) of welcoming others?pizza

Warm and welcoming behavior should be encouraged at a very young age. Children can understand that when guests come to their home, it is their responsibility to make them feel comfortable and welcome. Children can do this by offering guests something they like to eat or drink, and also by their sharing toys.

Besides modeling welcoming behaviors that we want children to follow, adults should intentionally teach the basic welcoming behaviors. We need to take a little extra time and involve children in the tasks necessary to prepare our homes for guests, such as, choosing foods that guests would enjoy. Encourage, even the little ones, to help clean and prepare the house, showing them that you want your home to look nice for your guests.

doorbellBefore guests arrive, young children can practice what they should say as their friends arrive. When they come to the door for a party or a playdate, encourage your child to say things such as, “Hi, come in.” “Do you want to play in my room?” Remind children that they can play with their toys anytime, but their friends only have a few hours to play with them.

After a play date or a party is over, let children know that it is important to walk each guest to the door and say, “Thank you for coming.” Remember, at three or four years old, we can’t expect perfection, and practicing a new skill may feel awkward and uncomfortable at first. With practice it will soon feel natural to them. Children also need to learn that there is work to do after guests leave. Cleaning up after guests is part of graciously hosting others. Returning toys to their usual place, throwing away trash, and even writing thank you notes or drawing thank you pictures are important tasks to practice.

The secret to welcoming guests into our busy lives is to keep things simple. Treat guests as you would treat your family. There is no need to cook a gourmet meal. All guests need is comfort, not excess. If your preparations are kept simple, one more person for lunch or dinner will be a joy, and not a chore.

Teaching children to be thoughtful welcoming hosts and hostesses takes a little time and effort, but the investment of time is well worthwhile. If we have homes that are gracious and welcoming, then our children will acquire B’ruchim Habaim, the blessing of welcoming.Jewish values for children 

Want to teach Jewish values to children? Mussar for Children: Jewish Values for Everyday Living Curriculum is the only Jewish values program geared specifically for young children.

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© 2015 Michelle Princenthal
 

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Raising a Moral

This article was taken from the New York Times Opinion Section April 11, 2014 by Adam Grant.  Jewish values for children

Photo by Ambro

Photo by Ambro

What does it take to be a good parent?

We know some of the tricks for teaching kids to become high achievers. For example, research suggests that when parents praise effort rather than ability, children develop a stronger work ethic and become more motivated.  Jewish values for children

Although some parents live vicariously through their children’s accomplishments, success is not the No. 1 priority for most parents. We’re much more concerned about our children becoming kind, compassionate and helpful.
Jewish values for children
Surveys reveal that in the United States, parents from European, Asian, Hispanic and African ethnic groups all place far greater importance on caring than achievement. These patterns hold around the world: When people in 50 countries were asked to report their guiding principles in life, the value that mattered most was not achievement, but caring.  Jewish values for children

Are some children simply good-natured — or not? For the past decade, I’ve been studying the surprising success of people who frequently help others without any strings attached.  Jewish values for children

Genetic twin studies suggest that anywhere from a quarter to more than half of our propensity to be giving and caring is inherited. That leaves a lot of room for nurture, and the evidence on how parents raise kind and compassionate children flies in the face of what many of even the most well-intentioned parents do in praising good behavior, responding to bad behavior, and communicating their values.  Jewish values for children

By age 2, children experience some moral emotions — feelings triggered by right and wrong. To reinforce caring as the right behavior, research indicates, praise is more effective than rewards. Rewards run the risk of leading children to be kind only when a carrot is offered, whereas praise communicates that sharing is intrinsically worthwhile for its own sake. But what kind of praise should we give when our children show early signs of generosity?  Jewish values for children

Many parents believe it’s important to compliment the behavior, not the child — that way, the child learns to repeat the behavior. Indeed, I know one couple who are careful to say, “That was such a helpful thing to do,” instead of, “You’re a helpful person.”  Jewish values for children

But is that the right approach? In a clever experiment, the researchers Joan E. Grusec and Erica Redler set out to investigate what happens when we commend generous behavior versus generous character. After 7- and 8-year-olds won marbles and donated some to poor children, the experimenter remarked, “Gee, you shared quite a bit.”  Jewish values for children

The researchers randomly assigned the children to receive different types of praise. For some of the children, they praised the action: “It was good that you gave some of your marbles to those poor children. Yes, that was a nice and helpful thing to do.” For others, they praised the character behind the action: “I guess you’re the kind of person who likes to help others whenever you can. Yes, you are a very nice and helpful person.”  Jewish values for children

A couple of weeks later, when faced with more opportunities to give and share, the children were much more generous after their character had been praised than after their actions had been.  Jewish values for children

Praising their character helped them internalize it as part of their identities. The children learned who they were from observing their own actions: I am a helpful person. This dovetails with new research led by the psychologist Christopher J. Bryan, who finds that for moral behaviors, nouns work better than verbs.

To get 3- to 6-year-olds to help with a task, rather than inviting them “to help,” it was 22 to 29 percent more effective to encourage them to “be a helper.” Cheating was cut in half when instead of, “Please don’t cheat,” participants were told, “Please don’t be a cheater.” When our actions become a reflection of our character, we lean more heavily toward the moral and generous choices. Over time it can become part of us.  Jewish values for children

When our actions become a reflection of our character, we lean more heavily toward the moral and generous choices. Over time it can become part of us.  Jewish values for children

Praise appears to be particularly influential in the critical periods when children develop a stronger sense of identity. When the researchers Joan E. Grusec and Erica Redler praised the character of 5-year-olds, any benefits that may have emerged didn’t have a lasting impact: They may have been too young to internalize moral character as part of a stable sense of self. And by the time children turned 10, the differences between praising character and praising actions vanished: Both were effective. Tying generosity to character appears to matter most around age 8, when children may be starting to crystallize notions of identity.  Jewish values for children

Praise in response to good behavior may be half the battle, but our responses to bad behavior have consequences, too. When children cause harm, they typically feel one of two moral emotions: shame or guilt. Despite the common belief that these emotions are interchangeable, research led by the psychologist, June Price Tangney, reveals that they have very different causes and consequences.

ID-100240983Shame is the feeling that I am a bad person, whereas guilt is the feeling that I have done a bad thing. Shame is a negative judgment about the core self, which is devastating: Shame makes children feel small and worthless, and they respond either by lashing out at the target or escaping the situation altogether. In contrast, guilt is a negative judgment about an action, which can be repaired by good behavior. When children feel guilt, they tend to experience remorse and regret, empathize with the person they have harmed, and aim to make it right.

In one study spearheaded by the psychologist Karen Caplovitz Barrett, parents rated their toddlers’ tendencies to experience shame and guilt at home. The toddlers received a rag doll, and the leg fell off while they were playing with it alone. The shame-prone toddlers avoided the researcher and did not volunteer that they broke the doll. The guilt-prone toddlers were more likely to fix the doll, approach the experimenter, and explain what happened. The ashamed toddlers were avoiders; the guilty toddlers were amenders.  Jewish values for children

If we want our children to care about others, we need to teach them to feel guilt rather than shame when they misbehave. In a review of research on emotions and moral development, the psychologist Nancy Eisenberg suggests that shame emerges when parents express anger, withdraw their love, or try to assert their power through threats of punishment: Children may begin to believe that they are bad people. Fearing this effect, some parents fail to exercise discipline at all, which can hinder the development of strong moral standards.

The most effective response to bad behavior is to express disappointment.  Jewish values for children

According to independent reviews by Professor Eisenberg and David R. Shaffer, parents raise caring children by expressing disappointment and explaining why the behavior was wrong, how it affected others, and how they can rectify the situation. This enables children to develop standards for judging their actions, feelings of empathy and responsibility for others, and a sense of moral identity, which are conducive to becoming a helpful person. The beauty of expressing disappointment is that it communicates disapproval of the bad behavior, coupled with high expectations and the potential for improvement: “You’re a good person, even if you did a bad thing, and I know you can do better.”

As powerful as it is to criticize bad behavior and praise good character, raising a generous child involves more than waiting for opportunities to react to the actions of our children. As parents, we want to be proactive in communicating our values to our children. Yet many of us do this the wrong way.  Jewish values for children

In a classic experiment, the psychologist J. Philippe Rushton gave 140 elementary- and middle-school-age children tokens for winning a game, which they could keep entirely or donate some to a child in poverty. They first watched a teacher figure play the game either selfishly or generously, and then preach to them the value of taking, giving or neither. The adult’s influence was significant: Actions spoke louder than words. When the adult behaved selfishly, children followed suit. The words didn’t make much difference — children gave fewer tokens after observing the adult’s selfish actions, regardless of whether the adult verbally advocated selfishness or generosity. When the adult acted generously, students gave the same amount whether generosity was preached or not — they donated 85 percent more than the norm in both cases. When the adult preached selfishness, even after the adult acted generously, the students still gave 49 percent more than the norm. Children learn generosity not by listening to what their role models say, but by observing what they do.  Jewish values for children

Want to teach Jewish values to children? Mussar for Children: Jewish Values for Everyday Living Curriculum is the only Jewish values program geared specifically towards young children.  Jewish values for children

To Purchase Click Here

2015 The Mussar Institute

Photo by Stuart Miles
 Jewish values for children

Patience or Sav’lanut in Hebrew

Mussar texts, such as Heshbon HaNefesh by Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Satanov, teach us how patience can allow us to pause before speaking or acting, especially when circumstances are not within our control. In the Torah patience is mentioned throughout. For example: “The patient man shows much good sense…” (Proverbs 14:29) or “A patient man is better than a warrior…” (Proverbs 16:32). The Talmud also discusses patience as an important trait. Jewish values for children

If patience is so important, how can we, as a Jewish community, help our children develop patience? The answer is simple. If you want to have children that are patient, model patience. Be aware of your words and behavior and even your body language when you have to wait for something. Children are very perceptive and detect subtle signs of impatience. It is important for children to learn that often we need to wait for our needs to be met. The level of patience is different for every child and their ability to wait should increase with their maturity. Jewish values for childrenblog patience2 Jewish values for children

If your children request something that you can not provide immediately, give them a specific response as to when they can expect you to attend to their request. For example, answers such as “When I am off the phone,” “When the timer goes off ” or “tomorrow” are clear and direct responses that children will learn to understand and accept.  Jewish values for children

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Avoid a response such as “later” or “not now” which can be unclear to children. Help your child learn to avoid the frustration of waiting by providing suggestions for what they can do while they wait.  Jewish values for children

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Why is patience important in early childhood? Practicing patience at an early age helps children to improve their relationships and their social skills. Temper tantrums in public are one of the most difficult situations that present themselves to parents of preschoolers. Teaching children to be patient at a young age will help reduce these meltdowns in public and at home.  Jewish values for children
Jewish values for children

tpt temper It will also help prepare them to cope with difficult situations throughout their lives. It is important to teach your children to have patience with all things and with others but also to have patience with themselves!  The ability to wait and have self-control is necessary for children to be successful, not only in school but throughout their lives. Jewish values for children

The Mussar For Children Curriculum integrates Jewish values into the classroom and connects those values with activities completed at school and at home. Children learn through puppets, songs, activities, and practice. Teachers receive lesson plans, activities, book lists, and articles for school newsletters. Parents receive communication that explains the middah that their children are learning about, along with relevant book lists and activities that can be done at home to further reinforce the value. Jewish values for children

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Mussar for Children was created by Michelle Princenthal in partnership with The Mussar Institute. It is the only Jewish values for children curriculum of its kind geared specifically for young children. Jewish values for children

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Giving Justly or Tz’dakah in Hebrew

The Jewish value of tz’dakah comes from the Hebrew root tzedek meaning justice. All children understand the concept of justice. “That’s not fair!” is a declaration we hear regularly from young ones. We can help our children to understand that the best way to have more justice in our world, or to make our world more fair, is to share what we have with those who don’t have.  Jewish values for childrenblog give3

We can share food, water, clothing, shelter, education and more. Remember, actions speak louder than words. According to a study by Dr. Noa Heyman, clinical psychologist, modeling charitable giving is the most effective way for parents to communicate this value to children. So if we want to model this value, then it’s important for us to have a regular practice of giving.  Jewish values for childrenblog give4

It is also important for us to talk with our children about what they are giving and why. Teaching how to share is one of the first values that we as parents and teachers encourage in our children. Even young children can make a difference in the world!  We can encourage them to give in ways that they can relate to, for example, donating personal items like toys and clothes for children in need, or food for people who are hungry.  Jewish values for childrenblog give2 Children can be involved in going to the grocery store to buy extra food for a local food pantry. They can bring food to their school, synagogue or a shelter. When our children get money for a gift, we can encourage them to give some of it for tz’dakah.  Jewish values for childrenblog give

Judaism uses time and ritual to sanctify everyday routines. At school children may have a time and ritual involving tz’dakah. We can also create a time and ritual for tz’dakah in our home by creating a tz’dakah box or even a collection of boxes intended for specific giving.  Jewish values for children

Some possible ideas may include:  Jewish values for children

  • We care for animals.  Jewish values for childrenblog give justly2

  • We care for our environment.  Jewish values for childrenblog give justly

  • We care for hungry children.  Jewish values for childrenblog give justly3

  • We care for Israel.  Jewish values for children

All these activities can begin to set the foundation for their growth as giving human beings!  Jewish values for children

The Mussar For Children Curriculum integrates Jewish values into the classroom and connects those values with activities completed at school and at home. Children learn through puppets, songs, activities, and practice. Teachers receive lesson plans, activities, book lists, and articles for school newsletters. Parents receive communication that explains the middah that their children are learning about, along with relevant book lists and activities that can be done at home to further reinforce the value.  Jewish values for children

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Mussar for Children was created by Michelle Princenthal in partnership with The Mussar Institute. It is the only Jewish values for children curriculum of its kind geared specifically for young children.  Jewish values for children

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Responsibility or Acharayut in Hebrew

The Jewish people are dedicated to the belief that we are responsible to society and to the world. Jews give charity in far greater proportion than others. For example, the United Jewish Appeal raises $750 million annually, making it the third largest charity in the U.S. after the Red Cross and the United Way. Since Jews are only 2% of the total population of the U.S., this demonstrates the devotion to social responsibility.  Jewish values for children

Jewish perspective, and more specifically, Mussar perspective tells us that if we see another human being in distress, we have an obligation to go out of our way to help. Being a good person according to Jewish perspective, requires us to take responsibility for others. How can parents and educators teach children this value? If we want to have children who are responsible, it is up to us to teach them responsibility.  Jewish values for children

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They will learn quickly that they have jobs just like adults do. If you want to be successful promoting responsibility in young children, making it as fun as possible will help. Turn “clean up time” into a game, a clothes hamper into a basketball hoop, or use a sticker chart for each job successfully completed.

Establish a routine for tasks. Children thrive with routine in their lives and they see that jobs are a part of everyday life. When you’re trying to get things accomplished, remember that there are jobs that young children can do to help you that will also make them feel like a responsible member of your classroom or family.  Jewish values for children

When children are learning to do new things, they may have difficulty accomplishing tasks or may make mistakes, but always praise them for their effort! Positive reinforcement will tell children that their efforts are appreciated.

Children need to experience their own consequences. In our attempt to protect our children, we often do things for them rather than allowing them to experience disappointment or frustration. If we bail them out of trouble every time, they will not learn to accomplish tasks on their own and will not learn to accept responsibility. Children need to be dependable, not only in their home but also in their school and community. As they get older they are progressively more capable of doing more for themselves and for others.  Jewish values for children

Children will have the best opportunity to learn the value of responsibility if they observe the adults in their lives modeling it. blog responsibility4Parents and teachers need to demonstrate personal accountability and by doing so we will inspire the next generation of adults devoted to the well being of society.

The Mussar For Children Curriculum integrates Jewish values into the classroom and connects those values with activities completed at school and at home. Children learn through puppets, songs, activities, and practice. Teachers receive lesson plans, activities, book lists, and articles for school newsletters. Parents receive communication that explains the middah that their children are learning about, along with relevant book lists and activities that can be done at home to further reinforce the value.  Jewish values for children

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Mussar For Children was created by Michelle Princenthal in partnership with The Mussar Institute. It is the only values for children curriculum of its kind geared specifically for young children.  Jewish values for children

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©2015 The Mussar Institute

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Silence or Sh’tikah in Hebrew

blog silence3Silence is defined as quietness, not speaking, ignoring something. Jewish perspective, and more specifically, Mussar perspective tells us something slightly different. We are not ignoring anything when we are silent; we are intentionally silent so that we can carefully listen and hear.  Jewish values for childrenblog silence

We all can benefit from silence at times; silence from technology, silence from social interactions, silence from all that distracts us. In silence we can begin to listen to greater things like our hearts and our souls.  Jewish values for childrenblog silence2

Both silence and speech are powerful devices that are not necessarily good or bad in of themselves. There are times when we should purposefully and courageously not be silent, for example, if we need to stand up to defend another from injustice or harm. For all of us there are times when we speak and our speech does not benefit others or may even cause harm to others. We recall, especially from childhood years, how damaging and painful words can sometimes be.

When should we teach our children to practice the middah (value) of silence?

  1. When they are going to say something that will hurt another person’s feelings.  Jewish values for children

  2. When they are going to say something that will hurt another person’s reputation.  Jewish values for children

  3. When they don’t know what to say. (If a friend is sad or upset just being with them is the most important thing.)  Jewish values for children

  4. When it’s their turn to listen. (Silence is important to being a good listener.)

  5. When they need to pay attention, to learn, to think, or be calm.  (When we are silent we can reflect.)  Jewish values for children


Help your children look for all five of these opportunities for silence and practice them. Model a reflective pause before speaking so your children can learn to do the same. To practice use only positive words when communicating about a situation or person. Practice keeping silent when harmful speech comes to mind. Listen to others more than speaking. Remember, speech is good when it is helpful to another. With practice we can learn when it is best to speak and when it is best to remain silent.  Jewish values for childrenblog silence5

The Mussar For Children Curriculum integrates Jewish values into the classroom and connects those values with activities completed at school and at home. Children learn through puppets, songs, activities, and practice. Teachers receive lesson plans, activities, book lists, and articles for school newsletters. Parents receive communication that explains the middah that their children are learning about, along with relevant book lists and activities that can be done at home to further reinforce the value.  Jewish values for children

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Mussar for Children was created by Michelle Princenthal in partnership with The Mussar Institute. It is the only values for children curriculum of its kind geared specifically for young children.  Jewish values for children

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©2013 Michelle Princenthal
©2015 The Mussar Institute

 Jewish values for children

Moderation or M’tinut in Hebrew

Moderation means to do something within reasonable limits and not to excess.  Jewish values for childrenblog moderation

There are so many areas where we all would like to have more moderation in our lives: eating fewer unhealthy foods, spending less money, watching less television, or spending less time on the Internet and playing video games. Many of these examples hit home for us and our families.  Jewish values for childrenblog moderation2

Today we see little ones who operate electronic devices, some as young as two years old! We know that technology for children is entertaining and when parents are busy and need uninterrupted time, technology is a great babysitter. For school age children there are many educational benefits from the use of technology.

However, electronic devices used without moderation have many disadvantages. Electronic stimulation has been shown to interfere with falling asleep and staying asleep. (American Academy of Pediatrics) Too many hours interacting with electronic devices results in less physical activity and is found to be associated with attention problems in children.  Excessive amounts of time spent interacting with electronic devices reduces time spent interacting as a family.blog moderation3

We all know that when our children watch television they are exposed to alluring advertising and inappropriate messages. Many studies have shown that children who watch TV without moderation are likely to read fewer books and have lower grades in school. If any of these issues are of concern to you, then its time to put moderation into effect in your household!  Jewish values for children

The first step is to talk to your family members about why moderation is important. When too much time is spent absorbed in technology, there is less time spent together as a family. Technology can be addicting and research has proven, especially in children, that it can have detrimental effects.

Old habits are hard to break, but not impossible. In order to facilitate a change in your home you will need to first let your family know that some of your rules will be changing. Specific time limits should be set for computer games and all computer and TV time. The good news is that activities and games that promote togetherness also promote a healthy lifestyle. But don’t forget, even togetherness should be practiced in moderation. We all need some time alone!

The Mussar For Children Curriculum integrates Jewish values into the classroom and connects those values with activities completed at school and at home. Children learn through puppets, songs, activities, and practice. Teachers receive lesson plans, activities, book lists, and articles for school newsletters. Parents receive communication that explains the middah that their children are learning about, along with relevant book lists and activities that can be done at home to further reinforce the value.  Jewish values for children

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Mussar for Children was created by Michelle Princenthal in partnership with The Mussar Institute. It is the only Mussar values for children curriculum of its kind geared specifically for young children.  Jewish values for children

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©2013 Michelle Princenthal
©2015 The Mussar Institute

 Jewish values for children

Trust or Bitachon in Hebrew

Bitachon generally translates as “trust,” which according to one definition is “a powerful sense of optimism and confidence.”  Mussar scholars have understood trust to mean “trust in God.” According to Jewish thought, trust is something to be valued, even treasured.  Jewish values for children

When do children learn to trust? Acquiring trust begins at birth. blog trustNewborns are dependent on their caregivers for everything they need to survive. If their needs are met, they will feel safe and begin to trust those that care for them. If their needs are not met, they will become fearful rather than trusting. Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development is one of the best-known theories of personality in psychology. Trust vs Mistrust, the first stage of Erikson’s theory occurs between birth and one year of age and is thought to be the most vital stage in life. The parent-child relationship is the first and most important social relationship a child has.  Jewish values for childrenblog trust2

How do children learn to trust? Children develop trust in response to specific interactions they have with others. New experiences and daily interactions with others guide children to differentiate between people who are trustworthy and those who aren’t.  Jewish values for childrenblog trust3

Can children be too trusting? Helping children develop trust does not mean blind trust. Being too trusting can be problematic and even dangerous. Children need to know common-sense rules that can help keep them safe. Make sure your children understand the rules you have set up for their safety. Balancing trust with caution is a skill they will develop with adult guidance.  Jewish values for childrenblog trust4

How can adults help children to learn to trust? Adults need to display behavior that is trustworthy. Try not to make promises to your children if you cannot keep them. If it seems that you might not be able to keep your promise, tell your child in advance. Explanations should be as honest as possible taking into consideration the developmental level of the child. Tell the truth in an age appropriate way. As parents and teachers we should focus on being trustworthy caregivers and role models. The result will be children who are worthy of trust, which transfers to trusting relationships later in life.   Jewish values for childrenblog trust5

The Mussar For Children Curriculum integrates Jewish values into the classroom and connects those values with activities completed at school and at home. Children learn through puppets, songs, activities, and practice. Teachers receive lesson plans, activities, book lists, and articles for school newsletters. Parents receive communication that explains the middah that their children are learning about, along with relevant book lists and activities that can be done at home to further reinforce the value.  Jewish values for children

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Mussar for Children: Jewish Values for Everyday Living was created by Michelle Princenthal in partnership with The Mussar Institute. It is the only mussar values for children curriculum of its kind geared specifically for young children.  Jewish values for children

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All materials and content are copyrighted.
©2013 Michelle Princenthal
©2015 The Mussar Institute

 Jewish values for children

Courage or Ometz Lev in Hebrew

Ometz Lev (from the Hebrew word meaning courage) refers to acts of courage.

We see references to Ometz Lev throughout history, in children’s literature, fairy tales, and in many of the stories we read to our young children about Hanukkah, Purim, and Passover. We recount stories of outnumbered Maccabees fighting their enemies. We describe Queen Vashti and Queen Esther standing up to the king who wants to kill the Jews. At Passover we retell the story to our children about Moses standing up to Pharaoh who kept the Jews slaves and even tell about first born Hebrew children thrown in the river.  Jewish values for children

These stories teach our children about our ancestors being courageous in the face of danger and overcoming fear. We often wonder though, about the value of sharing these stories that are filled with violence. Are we promoting unnecessary fear in our children who already live in a world filled with danger everywhere they look? Or will these stories help them to become courageous in their own lives? These may include everyday situations like sleeping in their own bed, separating from parents, or participating in activities for the first time.  Jewish values for childrenblog courage3

In recent years the suitability of violence in children’s stories has been strongly questioned. Experts do not agree on the value or consequence of reading stories containing violence to young children. What is clear is that it is essential to communicate to children that suffering is caused by violence. It is also essential to show children that there are courageous solutions to conflict other than violence. It is important to find books that discuss conflict and courageous solutions in ways that are meaningful to them in their lives.  Jewish values for childrenblog courage4

Children need to be aware of the realities of the world, both good and bad. Many experts argue that children’s literature that includes violence can be especially valuable when it teaches children how to cope with conflicts in their lives. Experts also believe that violence should have its place in children’s literature only if it truthfully reflects characteristics of the world that children should be aware of, no matter how much adults wish to protect them from it.  Jewish values for children

Our lessons on Courage help young children to deal with the issues that directly affect them, like going to the doctor, riding a bike for the first time, learning to swim, etc. The children learn how to cope with their fears through puppets, songs, activities, and practice. They express their fears through drawings and listen to other children talk about the ways they use courage to cope with their fears.

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The Mussar For Children Curriculum integrates Jewish values into the classroom and connects those values with activities completed at school and at home. Children learn through puppets, songs, activities, and practice. Teachers receive lesson plans, activities, book lists, and articles for school newsletters. Parents receive communication that explains the middah that their children are learning about, along with relevant book lists and activities that can be done at home to further reinforce the value.  Jewish values for children

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Mussar for Children: Jewish Values for Everyday Living was created by Michelle Princenthal in partnership with The Mussar Institute. It is the only values for children curriculum of its kind geared specifically for young children.

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All materials and content are copyrighted.
©2013 Michelle Princenthal
©2015 The Mussar Institute

  Jewish values for children

Friendship or Y’didut in Hebrew

BLOG 3 FRIENDSJewish tradition teaches us that friendship should be a shared responsibility. A friend is thought to be someone who helps to make you a better person and offers you support and companionship.  Jewish values for children

The character traits of the friends we choose are important because they directly relate to our ethical choices. The people with whom we spend time and form friendships directly impact the way we live our lives. Therefore, we realize how important it is for our children to choose friends wisely. Jewish values for childrenBLOG FRIENDS 2

For some children, making friends can be difficult, and finding out someone isn’t a true friend can be painful. We have all watched as our children are hurt by failed or difficult friendships. Much to our disappointment we can’t choose our children’s friends for them, but we can do something very important that will influence whom they choose: we can choose our own friends wisely! We can model true and valuable friendships for our children. We can have the kind of friends that we would like our children to have, and we can be the kind of friend that we would like our children to be. If we want children to be loyal friends, then we need to show them what friendship looks like.  Jewish values for children

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The Mussar For Children Curriculum integrates Jewish values into the classroom and connects those values with activities completed at school and at home. Children learn through puppets, songs, activities, and practice. Teachers receive lesson plans, activities, book lists, and articles for school newsletters. Parents receive communication that explains the middah that their children are learning about, along with relevant book lists and activities that can be done at home to further reinforce the value.  Jewish values for children

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Mussar for Children: Jewish Values for Everyday Living was created by Michelle Princenthal in partnership with The Mussar Institute. It is the only values for children curriculum of its kind geared specifically for young children.

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All materials and content are copyrighted.
©2013 Michelle Princenthal
©2015 The Mussar Institute

 Jewish values for children