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How Orthodox Jews discuss the facts of life with their kids anyway?
I had learned plenty since becoming religious – kosher, Shabbos, philosophy, Torah – my seminary covered a range of subjects.
Each parent should figure out what works for their family, but I hope hearing about how we handled this gave you one less thing to worry about! I’m a senior college student with a secular family and a very religious sister.
I’ve been sending JITC episodes to my dad and aunt to help them better understand my sister’s Jewish decision.
This woman had eight kids and seemed to have a very balanced approach, so I figured I’d pick her brain. She had actually given a class on the topic to a group of Jewish educators at an AJOP conference a few years earlier, but before she gave it, she interviewed a diverse group of Orthodox Jews: rabbis, teachers, mental health professionals, and the age they gave her for when to have “the talk” was anywhere from two years old to right before marriage. I even went and got pregnant again to help make the conversation natural!
Then, on a Shabbos morning, close to the end of my pregnancy, my 5 year old daughter asked why some eggs are eggs and others are chicks and I realized we finally had an opening to talk about how fertilization works for people too!
Like his followers, Twersky prays to God three times a day.
But unlike other Hasidic grand rabbis, Twersky does not pray in the main synagogue with his hasidim. When he has completed his silent readings of the daily prayers known as the Shmoneh Esrei, he knocks on the wall to signal the waiting congregants outside. Similarly, Twersky’s home in New Square, New York, the exclusively Hasidic upstate enclave where he presides over his sect, has its own mikveh, or ritual bath, built exclusively for him and his sons. And when Twersky feels a need to get away from the community he leads — where more than half his followers live below the poverty line — he can summon his black Cadillac XTS and instruct his chauffeur to drive to his multimillion-dollar lakeside vacation home in Nyack, New York, which also sports a private mikveh.
So she sat us down on our family room couch one evening, gave us the basics, fielded a couple follow up questions, and without any pomp or circumstance, we had had “the talk.” So many parents and children dread “the talk,” but before there was even time to fear it, it was over and done with for me.
I always imagined I’d do things similarly with my own kids, but then I grew up, became an Orthodox Jew, got married, started a family and realized that I had no idea how I was going to handle this topic.