When we elected to participate with our 5- and 9-year-old daughters in BaBayit, we had three specific intentions in mind: we hoped to break the sense of isolation that we have experienced during the past year; we wanted to do something purposeful together as a family; and we wanted to learn about and explore our Jewish identities with our children.
The BaBayit experience has provided us with what we really wanted and needed. We appreciate the sense of connectedness to other TBE adults and families as we share together in learning and observance from the comfort—and occasional disarray!—of our homes, and we love how we have adopted new and meaningful traditions, like having grape juice for Shabbat and Havdalah. Although we rarely get to all of the activities in the guides put together for each festival, we find comfort in knowing that TBE educators and program staff have put in careful thought and planning to each guide, curating activities, selecting an array of materials, and generating thoughtful prompts for reflection and discussion, ensuring that there are multiple ways for participants of various ages to engage. The guides and materials provide opportunities for meaningful family experiences, with minimal work at our end during this especially chaotic year. It has been fun to see our kids’ excitement as they unpack the BaBayit boxes or bags we pick up from the temple, uncovering fun surprises and learning what our upcoming activities will entail.
Through BaBayit, our family has benefited from a more fluid Jewish learning experience—integrating our existing ritual practices with novel ones, increasing our understanding of the purposes of elements of the full Jewish festival year, and for our nine-year-old especially, providing additional Judaic content touchpoints that complement learning in her weekday Hebrew class and her BaDerech cooking class.