Title: Handle With Love: The Path to Joyful Jewish Parenting
By Rebbetzin Devorah Eisenbach
Distributed by Israel Bookshop Publications
“While guiding and shepherding our children, we teach them what is important and how to view the world. By word and deed, we communicate what is good, essential and worthwhile and what is not. We radiate what is exciting and meaningful and what is not. We demonstrate what is beautiful, true and eternal and what is not.”
In Handle With Love, Rebbetzin Eisenbach writes with the very character traits that make for a good parent (and a good person) – humility, gratitude, joy, and faith. She stresses again and again that the key to successful parenting is working on our own spiritual growth.
“One of the most beautiful gifts of raising children is the challenge of becoming the person we hope they will become.”
Handle With Love focuses more on what the parent needs to do to achieve good middot, good parenting, and subsequently raise good children, good people, good Jews. To do this, she stresses, we have to get to know each child, value them for their strengths and help them recognize, appreciate, and shine their light into the world.
Rebbetzin Eisenbach reviews the most beneficial strategies for raising emotionally and spiritually flourishing children like – getting to know your child and spending quality time with them, accepting them for who they are and avoiding the most detrimental behaviors like criticizing and yelling, and pushing your child. This book teaches us how to raise good people, not just good children and in so doing becoming better people ourselves.
“I hope this book will encourage parents to realize that they are the best parents for their children, and to enjoy the privilege of parenting and see it as a catalyst for their own growth,” says Rebbetzin Eisenbach.
“One of our preeminent challenges is to get to know each child in all of his uniqueness, acknowledge his strengths, and then value his individuality.”
Written with the wisdom of her many years of parenting and teaching, Rebbetzin Eisenbach’s perspective focuses on love, patience and understanding. She recognizes that parenting is about the dynamics of the entire family, even the community, and is not limited to parent/child interactions. The parenting relationship is based on the spousal relational, our relationship to Hashem, our relationship with ourselves and the relationship with the world at large.
It’s important for parents to choose the best environments for their children’s optimum growth – schools, camps, friends, neighborhoods. Parenting does not only take place at home.
Rebbetzin Eisenbach teaches that as parents, we are guides, liaisons, advocates, role-models and staunch supporters who believe in our children and how to access their strengths and potential. Unhealthy parenting stresses discipline and molding our children into being what we would like to them to become. This book stresses nurturing the child as a gift from Hashem. “We, as parents, need to recognize our limitations and remember that raising children is about guiding and nurturing, not about managing or controlling.”
The book has garnered praise and approbations from many of today’s Torah luminaries and personalities like Rav Zev Leff and Rabbi Hanoch Teller, and Rebbetzin Eisenbach has received much fan mail for the book and its lessons. It has been called, a trailblazer, refreshing and unique.
The lessons in Handle With Love can apply to any relationship at any stage of life. One woman writes, “Thanks so much for sending me your new book on chinuch! I am enjoying it very much even though my children are grown. We still need to follow at least some or all of the same principles in our relationships with them as adults and also with other people.”
“This is exactly the type of response I was hoping for,” says Rebbetzin Eisenbach. “We cannot transfer values and ideals to anyone unless we are bound together by a loving relationship. I hope this book will help people build lasting relationships with those close to them and thus be privileged to pass on our dear heritage.”
Parenting can be exciting and delightful for both parents and children! This book can help attain that goal.
“Our neighbor, Rebbetzin Sarah Rivka Kopshitz, conveyed her enjoyment of the privilege of being a parent by rephrasing the common Yiddish adage, “Kleine kinder, kleine tzaros; groise kinder, groise tzaros [Small children, small problems; big children, big problems].” Her version was “Kleine kinder, kleine nachas; groise kinder, groise nachas [Small children, small pleasures; big children, big pleasures].”
With a combination of enlightening and relatable stories, the Torah’s perspective through the ages and pearls of wisdom from rabbis and Torah leaders, Handle With Love is both practical and inspiring, age-old and innovative.
“As a child, I absorbed my parent’s dedication to parenting us. As a young mother in the rarefied atmosphere of Jerusalem, parenting was no longer theoretical. Seeking examples I could put into practice, I carefully observed exceptional, hands-on Jewish parenting. At the same time, my quest for further understanding, knowledge and tools led me to study Torah sources relating to parenting and to ask questions of spiritual leaders of our generation.
Though my debt to Hashem for His kindness is impossible to repay, one thing I can do is to share what I have learned with you. I hope that you, too, will gain pleasure and fulfillment from your parenting.”
Rebbetzin Eisenbach relates, “You may notice as you read this book that there are no specific instructions for how to train a baby or teach a child to put away his belongings. Each child, parent and situation is different. Therefore, copying and pasting someone else’s experiences will not necessarily be helpful. By integrating the insights and attitudes discussed in this book, you, dear reader, will develop your own individual parenting skills and find practical ways and means to implement your knowledge. As parenting becomes a joyous experience for you, it may appear that your children are the main beneficiaries. Actually, parenting is one of the greatest opportunities for your own growth as you climb to ever greater heights with your child.”
The parenting journey is, after all, taken with the entire family, and is unique to it, but ultimately affects all Klal Yisrael. This a great guidebook for that journey.