How to Bring Judaism into a New Family Home?

Happy Family

When you’re moving into a new property, it can be difficult to know what it is you want to make a priority. For a lot of people, it’s the home décor, and of course settling the family in well. But what if you’re a deeply religious family, and you want to make sure you don’t lose sight of that along the way? If you’re a traditionally Jewish family, imaginably Judaism is crucially important to your family life on a day-to-day basis. Life can come to test us at times, and it’s often said that moving your family home can be one of the most stressful things you can experience, so it’s even more important to remember your faith here and now. How can you make sure that you can bring these important rituals and teachings into your new family home?

Focus on the Kitchen

The kitchen is the centrepiece of the home for any traditionally Jewish family. Not only is it the place where the family will prepare for religious holidays, but it’s also where Shabbat meals will be held. The kitchen is the central piece in food preparation, and the act of enjoying traditional meals together as a family, so ensure when choosing a new family home that you prioritise the kitchen as one of the main family rooms. Investing in a high-quality kitchen is also useful in the long-run, as if you’re even looking to move home again in the future, you’re more likely to get a quick house sale and a good price.

Traditionally, the rituality surrounding the kitchen in the Jewish family home was overseen very heavily by only the women in the family, whereas the synagogue was mainly a domain for the men. The kashrut – or laws of the diet – were regulated for the whole family by women, and ultimately the kitchen was the place in which they oversaw the diets of the entire family according to religion. In 2019, it’s safe to say that not every Jewish family still follows these religious notions so rigidly, however maintaining the kitchen as a sacred family space is a great way of bringing traditional Judaism into a new home and keeping it alive throughout modern life. As well as the preparation of food and the sharing of mealtimes taking place in this room, the family could explore other religious rituals such as the lighting of Shabbat candles. Although women traditionally spoke to God in private spaces in the home, there’s nothing to say this can’t be done as a family, surrounding mealtimes.

Keep Rituals Alive

As well as Shabbat meals and religious holidays, there are other rituals in Judaism that traditionally take place in the home. For example, the Zeved Habat, or naming ceremony for new born baby girls, is usually held in the household. These celebrations are used to welcome new children into the Jewish Community, and if families have the required space to do so, they’ll want to hold them in their own house. The reason behind hosting these ceremonious events inside the home itself, is because it is believed that this helps to emphasise that the child in question’s first Jewish Community are their family for the rest of their lives, and throughout their lives that the home will be the centre of their existence. It might be an idea if you’re moving into a new family home, to save these events until you are in the new space, in order to bless them accordingly for your children.

Likewise, if you are a newlywed Jewish couple moving into your first home together, although the wedding itself is not held in the home, the huppah which is an important feature in the wedding ceremony itself, traditionally is. This represents the home that this couple will hope to build together, and really puts emphasis on their commitment to building a Jewish home, together. This can really bring the importance Judaism into a new home.

Above All, Be Kind and Make Your Religion Important

Last but not least, be kind to one another, and make religion the upmost of importance. These points can apply to and are equally important to any religious family moving into a new home. Remember that the home is your centrepiece as a family, so to behave kindly and generously towards each other in the house. Likewise, where you can, bring religious ritual and ceremony into the home, and as mentioned above there are several of these that are traditionally celebrated in the family home in Judaism. Keeping Judaism alive in your day-to-day home routine is important to the longevity and happiness of modern family life.

About the Author
Nikhil Chandwani is an author of 13 Books, TED(x) Speaker, and Founder- Writers' Rescue Centre. He was recently awarded the Rashtriya Gaurav Award in 2019 (The Indian National Award) for excellence in social entrepreneurship. His firm, Writers' Rescue Centre has given voice to over 211 individuals in India through a Gurukul System. Nikhil is also a Visiting Professor with leading Indian Universities.
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