The Blessing of a Blessing
Rabbi Lisa Grushcow is an Alumnus of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship Program, Class XII. She is the Rabbi at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Manhattan. Lisa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I lead a parenting group called “How to Raise a Mentsch.” (The irony: How often have I rushed my seven year old in the morning, yelling “Ariella! Hurry up! I have to teach the parenting class!”). We read parenting books and study Jewish texts; we talk through specific challenges, and we talk about our lives. It’s been a place where I can wear two hats: rabbi and parent.
When my second daughter, Alice, was born five weeks early, I had everything in place in terms of coverage – I am blessed with great colleagues. But the parenting group was on my mind; the teacher was set, but not the topic. Then, speaking to my partner, we decided: we would ask the class to write a blessing for Alice’s naming.
Apparently it was the best session the class had ever had. At first they thought they couldn’t do it, but they realized how much they knew – and they were so moved to have been asked. They worked together to create a prayer, infused with texts and stories we had studied, and their own collective wisdom as parents. What a moment, to not only be taught by my students, but blessed by them.