Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Parenting 102

NOTE: I am not getting anything for writing about TheShmuz, rather I'm choosing to do so because I think it is a very worthwhile program for many people. My brother attends Chofetz Chaim, and I went to a branch of it during high school and have many friends in CC, which is how I heard about TBT/TheShmuz.
Many months ago, I was asked if I could write about The Shmuz ( I was repeatedly invited to listen online and to come check it out in person, but between Elianna's birth, the search for a job, the move, and starting a new job, it didn't seem to work out. I attended one Shmuz a few weeks ago, but didn't feel it gave me enough of an impression; but after tonight, I have a far better idea of what it is all about.

Tonight's theme was parenting, but it focused really on two things: Both parenting and education. Not only was it simply very good material, (and Rabbi Shafier is a good speaker) the points made were all on the money. I was seriously reminded over and over again of one of my favorite videos as I listened. Basically, he kept reiterating that each child must be raised and educated according to what is best for them individually, that children must be disciplined but never with vengeance, and that parents need to stay involved in knowing what is going on in their childrens' lives far more than they do by speaking with their teachers, etc. - not by simply dumping them off in school, coming back a few years later, and expecting that they will be some kind of perfect product. All in all, while I may not agree with every single thing he said, it was a very good shmuz and they are very worthwhile to attend.

All in all, Tiferes B'nei Torah, which runs TheShmuz and a number of other classes/shiurim each week*, is very well-organized and impressive. They are the brainchild of the Rabbinical Seminary of America (better known as the Chofetz Chaim yeshivos) and its head, Rabbi H. Leibowitz to help working men keep a structure of learning and Torah life when they may have very little time outside of work and family responsibilities. They have a number of different classes each week in different areas, and they run these classes so far in Queens, Monsey, and Brooklyn. The weekly Shmuz in Queens which I attended fills up the room - there are 50-60 people there each and every week, and it is given in both of the other locations on different nights, in addition to then being placed on their website.

Check out their site, listen to some of the talks, try and attend some of the classes if you can - it's really worthwhile and you can gain a lot from it. There were a few articles written about TBT that are on the site, including this one from early this year that describes it very well.

* I have also attended the Chumash shiur on Wednesday evenings which was quite good; and I have heard very good things from friends about the Sunday morning Iyun shiur and excellent things about the weekday mornings' practical Halacha shiur. The others I haven't heard much about, but the people giving them are great.