Large Enough to Serve You
Small Enough to Know You

Beri Schwitzer

Bonding Family in Memory and Song

The first night that we brought the twins home from the NICU and I was startled awake for a middle of the night feeding, I was frazzled and sleep deprived. I knew that after I got them swaddled and settled in, that I should have a lullaby at the ready to sing but I completely drew a blank. All of the music that I thought I knew completely escaped me. I started to cry along with the girls thinking and contemplating what kind of mother would I be, when
suddenly I found myself singing words that I remembered hearing my grandmother sing to me…. “Oseh Shalom bimromav, Hu ya’aseh shalom aleynu, Ve’al kol yisrael, Ve’imru, Amen.” G-d who makes peace in all places, make
peace over us, over Israel, and let us say, Amen. Over and over, I sang those ancient words of peace and comfort to my infant daughters and it became their favorite lullaby as well as mine. Oseh Shalom became one of our family’s
greatest hits—a melody that gave me solace in times of trouble and bonded our family in memory and song.

Every day, parents are bombarded by life’s challenges. The pressures of work and life are relentless; our children’s needs are often impossible to meet and we rarely, if ever, allow ourselves the time and attention to satisfy our own inner longings. Adulting, now a verb, is not easy. It is in these difficult moments when I turn to our family’s play list—the greatest hits of Judaism to gain wisdom and strength during challenging times.

I struggle with the work/life balance just like everyone else. How to turn off, tune out, and refocus on those that matter even for a few hours each week. I’m still on a personal quest to be present and mindful in each interaction and encounter. Sometimes I am much more successful at it than other times but what I have found that helps me the most is tapping into the deep roots of Jewish tradition and culture to help recharge my batteries. Singing songs,
davening in shul, meditating, taking long walks on Shabbat are what serve as my spiritual go-tos while for others it might be sitting in their sukkah or eating their grandmother’s matzah ball soup recipe.

To better serve you and your family, we want to learn more about your spiritual needs and practices (what makes services meaningful and what keeps you engaged). We recently sent out a survey to our learning center families to gather feedback on what spiritual traditions you practice in an effort to learn more about how we can provide spiritual nourishment for our parents and students. In one day, we had over half of the families’ responses! If you haven’t had a chance, please take a moment and respond to one of the CLC parent emails. We will be developing future surveys to understand your learning needs and social/engagement strategies as well.