You are proud to be Jewish and feel a closeness and identity with many of the Jewish traditions, and you would like your children to grow up feeling the same way. But is not going to happen by itself, not with the apathy and alienation common today.
An impartial analysis of Jewish History shows that the only way to communicate and transmit Jewish identity across the generation gap has been the careful observances of Jewish precepts.
When children develop an identification and a warm feeling for certain scenes and moments in Judaism, their powers of association bring about a feeling for the totality of our Jewish heritage.
Mitzvos are not only for children.
The Hebrew word for precept is "Mitzvah," which is etymologically related to the word "connection."
By fulfilling a precept you are developing a link, establishing a connection between yourself, your Jewish heritage and G-d.
Each Mitzvah is a communication bridge providing powerful lessons for individual growth and personal development.
- AHAVAS YISROEL - The love of one's fellow Jew.
Hillel, (one of the greatest sages of the Mishna), explained, that the love for ones fellow man, and the stages of personal development necessary for that love to be genuine are fundamental to Jewish observance.
The Ahavas Yisroel Campaign seeks to influence each individual, so that one's thought, speech and actions be permeated with a real concern and sensitivity for the well-being of his fellow Jew.
- CHINUCH - Torah Education
The campaign for Torah Education wants to involve any and every Jewish child in an educational program that will teach him/her what it means to live as a Jew. Likewise, adults are encouraged to enroll in study groups and seminars commensurate with their background and knowledge.
- TORAH STUDY
Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of the Chabad-Lubavitch Movement explained, that Torah study should be fixed not only in time, but also in soul, i.e., that it should be the vortex around which the entire spectrum of everyday life revolves.
Torah study is the attempt of finite man to comprehend the wisdom of an infinite G-d. The keeping of fixed times for Torah study allows for systematic growth and development.
- TEFILLIN - The donning of Tefillin, every weekday, by men and boys over 13.
The Torah describes Tefillin as a sign, a public statement of Jewish involvement. By donning Tefillin daily, an individual gives expression to his basic feeling of Jewish identity, and its importance to him.
The Tefillin are placed on the arm facing the heart, and on the head. This signifies the binding of one's emotional and intellectual powers to the service of G-d. The straps, stretching from the arm to the hand and from the head to the legs, signify the transmission of intellectual and emotional energy to the hands and feet, symbolizing deed and action.
- MEZUZOH - The Jewish Sign
A Mezuzoh designates a house, or room as Jewish. It is a clear sign of the nature of the environment. The Mezuzoh should be on the right door-post of every room. The Divine name S-H-A-D-A-I on the outside of each Mezuzoh, is explained by our Sages to also signify that the Al-mighty is "Guardian of the Doorways of Israel." The Mezuzoh protects the home and its occupants.
In a Mezuzoh, IT'S WHAT'S ON THE INSIDE THAT COUNTS. You have to have a parchment with the first two paragraphs of the Shema written by a professional scribe.
Unfortunately, many printed or improperly written Mezuzohs flooded the public market.
In addition, many Mezuzohs that were originally proper have since faded or cracked due to age or weather. A competent authority should be contacted to check all your Mezuzohs.
- TZEDOKOH - Giving charity every weekday
Tzedokoh, though commonly translated as charity, literally means correct or righteous.
The English word `charity' implies a condescending attitude; giving even though the recipient may be undeserving. `Tzedokoh' changes that perspective.
You give out of a sense of responsibility and in the realization that what YOU have is also a gift-charity from G-d.
The Tzedokoh campaign calls for an increase in giving.
Displaying a Tzedokoh Box conspicuously serves as a reminder to give OFTEN every weekday.
- Possession of Jewish Holy Books
An environment teaches. What you have in your home helps determine what type of home you will have.
By having Jewish Holy Books conspicuously displayed at home, you as well as your friends, will be stimulated to use them. Their very presence reminds one of their contents and the importance of Jewish values.
Of course, the more books the better. However, the minimum of a Chumash (the Five Books of Moses), a Book of Psalms and a Siddur (Prayer Book) are suggested.
- Lighting Shabbos And Festival Candles
Light is a subject which has stirred the imagination of poets, scientists and psychologists. Because its nature is so different from other material entities, it is frequently used to describe spiritual insight.
Shabbos is a day of light; a day with a different pattern and value-orientation.
The lighting of the Shabbos Candles, ushers and inspires in this state of awareness.
The responsibility for lighting the candles and inducing this change of perspective is the woman's. It is she who welcomes the Shabbos Queen into the home.
Young girls from the age of three are also encouraged to light their own candle, both as a means of involvement and as part of their education.
The Shabbos Candles are lit 18 minutes before sunset.
- KASHRUS - The Jewish Dietary Laws
Eating Kosher food serves to bring home, on a very basic and fundamental level, and identification with one's Jewishness.
As long as Jewish involvement is limited to prayer, study, or even specific ritual acts, there is no proof that it has permeated one's self.
When you eat differently, your Judaism is not just metaphysical, but a part and parcel of your very being.
The observance of Kashrus consists of eating only Kosher foods at home or away from home. It also entails not eating dairy and meat foods together, and maintaining separate dishes, cutlery, and utensils for meat and dairy.
- TAHARAS HAMISHPOCHO - The Torah perspective on married life
Marriage and sexuality are treated very carefully by the Jewish tradition.
It is no coincidence that in Torah-conscious homes the divorce rate is much lower than the national average.
Taharas Hamishpocho, the attitudes and practices for happy married life help to develop genuine communication and love between husband and wife and bring to the world healthy, loving children.
The detailed laws of Taharas Hamishpocho require much explanation. Many couples of all ages have turned to observing Taharas Hamishpocho. Contact your local Chabad-Lubavitch Center for more information.