Summit Schedule

Day One

Rabbi Zev Leff

Democracy and conflicting theories of child-raising in western culture, like the gods of ancient Greece who always fought among themselves,  have played havoc with the Jewish family. Rabbi Leff illustrates how damaging these ‘idols’ are to Jewish family life because they strip away ‘samchut’ – our G-d-given authority. Without samchut, we are confused about our roles and our purpose. There is only turmoil, feelings of low self-esteem, and kids out of control.

Establishing your ‘samchut’ is  critical if you’re going to be able to pass the flame of Judaism to the next generation. Rabbi Leff reveals how to solve this problem by clearly defining how to go about turning the pyramid the right way up. When we no longer doubt our authority we can calm down, feel less anxious about whether we’re doing our job “right” and automatically become more self-confident and happy.  This will set the stage for the next interview where Rebbetzin Schoonmaker shows us the dramatic positive impact of our authority on our kids. 

Rebbetzin Dina Schoonmaker

Rebbetzin Dina now illuminates how in Jewish psychology, the concept of samchut  - calm, self-assured parental authority is actually a gift to our kids. And more than that, our kids can’t be happy without it.

Giving gifts brings joy to the giver and the receiver because giving takes us beyond ourselves and expands us.  The gift of parental authority in particular fosters growth because as Rabbi Leff inferred, it sets the overturned pyramid back in place and creates order and harmony in our homes, which leads to genuine and lasting peace and happiness. Tomorrow we'll discover how to  further this growth process in our relationships with our kids through conscious role modeling. 


Day Two

Rabbi Dovid Kaplan

Rabbi  Kaplan continues the discussion by making us aware how, like it or not, we’re always a role model for our kids. They are always looking to us for guidance how to “do” this world. If they like what they see, they'll want to follow us and be like us.   Rabbi Kaplan reveals an astounding insight about how Avraham Avinu – the patriarch, Abraham – understood his role as a dad.  This lays the groundwork for Rebbetzin Polatnik's guidance in the next interview: how to help kids like and appreciate the role models they see in us.

Rebbetzin Lori Polatnik

Rebbetzin Lori  sheds light on how creative our role modeling can be, when we think it through clearly. You'll discover the different ‘hats’ you can choose to wear depending on your child's developmental stage,  and learn how, through changing your 'hats', you can help your kids feel that you have their backs. In these times when the negative aspects of the outside world are literally in the palms of our kids' hands, Rebbetzin Polatnik expertly guides us how to raise kids who see happiness as a side benefit of living with Jewish values. This reminds us of the bonus interview with Rabbi Orlofsky about how to give kids the authentic Jewish life you may never have had.  It also looks ahead to Rebbetzin Allen's conceptualization of how to help your kids find happiness and fulfillment within Judaism. 


Day Three

Rebbetzin Chaya Hinda Allen

Both Rabbi Kaplan and Rebbetzin Lori fleshed out what it means to BE a role model. Now you need to ask yourself, what kind of role model do you want to be? Rebbetzin Chaya Hinda furthers our discussion by insisting that it's crucial to be the parent you actaully want to be, as opposed to the parent you think you should be. 

Your own self-definition - from within -  based on the specific kids Hashem has given you, will set you up for satisfaction and deep, inner contentment as a mom.  This will also make it easier for you to believe in who your kids are - a point which will be critical for Rebbetzin Greenblatt's discussion tomorrow on kavod -  the concept of spiritual respect. 

Rebbetzin Miriam Becker

Rebbetzin Miriam expands this vision of getting in touch with your parental desire by showing us how to consciously view our kids only with an ayin tova -  seeing the best of who they can be and the great future for which they are destined:  they will pass the flame of Judaism to the next generation, be"H.  She shows how our kids really only want to connect to us, even when they’re misbehaving.  When you focus with an  ayin tova on the overall good picture, both you as observer and your child -the observed - experience a deep sense that all is well with the world. You'll see  how this profoundly impacts your child's self-concept and transforms your relationship, which will be vital to being able to work with the tools provided in the next interview with Dr. Adahan. 


Day Four

Dr. Miriam Adahan

When our kids push our buttons, we often 'lose it', explode or throw up our hands in frustration and despair. What if we could learn to spiritualize our responses – and teach our kids how to as well?  Dr. Miriam shows us how to achieve spiritual victories that take us to inner simcha.  This emphasis on spritualizing everyday ups and downs is what Rebbetzin Greenblatt will expand upon in the next interview. Dr. Miriam anticipates that by teaching us how to spiritually transform difficult emotions - our own and our kids' - into experiences of deep inner calm and fulfillment. When we clear the  clouds, we can see the blue sky that was always there.

Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt

We've all heard a lot about the importance of loving kids unconditionally. But if you think about it, all parents automatically do this. We may not always like our kids, but we love them no matter what. That's the way Hashem wired us. Rebbetzin Debbie shows us how the key therefore, is really the idea of kavod - relating to  the spiritual essence of your kids, regardless of  what's going on externally.  Judaism is about elevating all aspects of the material. Surely the highest expression of this elevation is in our closest human connections? So discover in this interview how to take your relationships with your kids to the next level and in so doing, attune them to their inherent spirituality. 


Day Five

Rabbi Lawrence (Leib) Kelemen

By now, you are probably feeling a lot more comfortable with your samchut  - your G-d-given parental authority. You’ve thought through the kind of mother you want to be, the kind of role model who believes in her kids and views them through the lens of ayin tova. You can see yourself helping them achieve spiritual victories, fostering their spiritual pleasure as you relate to  them with the profoundly powerful tool of  Kavod.   Rabbi Kelemen now pulls all of this together by bringing into focus the clear, time-honored  system of his rebbe, Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, z"l: planting, building, and praying - in order to raise a "whole" Jewish child.

Rabbi Sholom Kamenetsky

We began this summit with Rabbi Leff's discussion of how the pyramid Hashem set up has been overturned in our generation. Throughout the week, we've gained enormous insight and tools for how to bring order and harmony back to our homes. In this final interview,  Rabbi Kamenetsky will bring this coversation full circle by showing how our kids are out of control in so many ways ...  And yet, the rampant chutzpah of  today's kids was predicted by our sages, nearly 2000 years ago.  Hashem knows what He's doing, even if we don't.  Rabbi Kamenetsky concludes this summit by  giving us enormous hope that everything we're putting into our kids will, with Hashem's Help, eventually blossom and bear fruit.  And that therefore, we mothers especially should do everything that we need to become happy ourselves, bring simcha into our homes and keep our 'good eye' on the glorious future that awaits our nation.