Title: Raising a Child With SoulAuthor: Slovie Jungreis-WolffPublisher: St. Martin’s Press
Many a parent would like to see their child follow in their footsteps. Sometimes it is a very hard act to follow, but in the case of Slovie Jungreis-Wolff it is a nachas to all of us to see her following the path of her world-renowned mother, Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis.
Jungreis-Wolff has just published a book, Raising a Child With Soul, that mirrors her mother’s easy style and excellent life lessons. One doesn’t usually hear it said of a non-fiction book, “I couldn’t put the book down,” or “One page flowed into the other until I had finished the whole book.” But it can be said of this one – and so much more. It is a tribute not only to her mother, but also to Slovie’s father, the late Rabbi Meshulam Jungreis, zt”l, to whom she dedicates her book, that all of their teachings inform her very life.
We live in a time when children are given permission to “do their own thing.” Respecting parents is considered old-fashioned and even in our own Orthodox society “off the derech” children are all too common. Jungreis-Wolff reminds us that the key to our survival is the Jewish home, a mikdash me’at, a sanctuary. “Children who grow up in a home where the Presence of G-d is consistently acknowledged are spiritual children.” They are not afraid because they have been given a strong foundation of faith. Children who observe the strong faith and deep commitment of their parents to G-d, grow up with soul.
How many of today’s children are taught to express gratitude? Jungreis-Wolff reminds us that Judaism teaches us that saying thank you is a means of building character. It keeps us humble. If children hear their parents saying thank you, they will learn to do so as well to their parents, teachers, etc.
We thank G-d in our daily prayers, an act of hakaras ha’tov – recognizing the good bestowed on us by our Creator and also by people. We teach our children to begin each day with the Modeh Ani prayer in which we thank G-d for giving us another day of life. And we let them hear us express gratitude to our spouses, our parents, our friends – and anyone else who shows us kindness.
Where is the road to happiness? Slovie Jungreis-Wolff gives us the key to helping our children find true happiness in discovering a sense of mission and purpose in life. If we arm them with the tools and skills that are inscribed in the pages of this book, they will be well prepared to deal with life’s ups and downs.
Raising a Child With Soul is written in anecdotal style similar to the books by Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis. Real life stories are used to convey the wisdom on each page. There is a beautiful chapter on nighttime rituals and especially the recitation of the Shema. The section on priorities will give everyone pause. And there are the very personal stories of Slovie’s life that she freely shares with us.
There are chapters that will make you smile and chapters that will bring tears to your eyes, but all who read this book will gain tremendous insight into raising a child with proper Torah values – raising a child with a beautiful soul.
On Monday evening, February 23, Slovie and her mother, Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis will discuss the art of childrearing at Barnes and Noble at West 82 Street and Broadway at 7:00 p.m. The public is invited. A second symposium will be held on Thursday, February 26, at The 92 Street Y at 8:15 p.m. Slovie will be available to sign books after the programs. For information and tickets to the Y program please call 212-415-5500.Naomi Klass Mauer