This Rabbi Keeps Making Me Cry

I cried on my commute this morning.

Granted, it’s not the hardest thing to do – make me cry – at least not right now. I’m 7+ months pregnant, just recently moved from NYC to Chicago, dealing with lots of big doings at work…so I’m tired and overwhelmed and kind of hormonal. Hence, occasional tears on trains.

I’ve made peace with that.

But I think I would have cried anyway. I was listening to a podcast from Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, her “Nurture the Wowcast” based on her forthcoming book on parenting (entitled, you guessed it, “Nurture the Wow”).

Rabbi Ruttenberg’s words didn’t make me sad, they touched me. She just…gets it.

I have a two-year-old son, and two-year-old boys get a lot of flack. “The terrible twos!” and all. Willful, stubborn, irrational. We throw around these grand generalizations about what kids are, and how to deal with them. And there’s a lot of good advice, and a lot of really crummy advice, that comes with that. But the underlying assumptions, the stereotypes of children, go more or less unquestioned. That gets tiring. My kid is more than the sum of his tantrums.

Rabbi Ruttenberg doesn’t buy it, either. She pushes us to see who¬†our children are, not just what. To step back and breathe and marvel and cry and laugh (a lot; two year-olds, by the way, are funny as hell).

I felt the same way when I saw her ELI Talk for the first time. She packs a lot of wisdom into 12 minutes.

As a parent of a young child, I relish this perspective. I need this reminder; and I think my son does, too. I’m so grateful to Rabbi Ruttenberg for her work and her wisdom.

Her book is available for pre-order now, and I can’t wait to read the whole thing. On the train. Kleenex will be involved.

About the Author
Miriam Brosseau is Program Director of ELI Talks and Director of Engagement with See3 Communications. Jewish professional by day, Jewish rock star by night, she is also half of the "biblegum pop" duo Stereo Sinai. Miriam is member of the ROI Community and was selected for The Jewish Week's "36 Under 36" feature in 2012. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.