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Emily Aronoff Teck


Smiling girl looking on at a partially lit menorah

I love celebrating Judaism with my family. Nothing brings me pleasure like sharing holidays, celebrating traditions and creating new rituals. I don’t, however, love some of the traditions that seem to have evolved to be considered very mainstream – including exchanging gifts for eight nights of Hanukkah. (I don’t love those plague toys at seder or the Mensch on the Bench, either, but that’s a conversation for another day.)

There are a few reasons I want to avoid eight nights of gifts. For starters, my kids and I don’t need any more stuff – and I’m going to try to shield my little...

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I make a living singing, playing, teaching, and learning with Jewish munchkins in early childhood learning centers, temples, and JCCs. Sweet gig, right? Last year, I became a parent, too, and thus a participant in programs geared toward this demographic.

Equipped with academic training, a lifetime of experience in Jewish communal life, a career working with young Jewish families, and, now, a baby on my hip, I offer a few simple action steps synagogue leadership can take to improve the experience of your youngest congregants, to attract and retain family memberships, and to protect...

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