Putting the JOY into the OY on your Child’s Birthday

By Naomi Blesofsky - February 14, 2019 

When people ask me how many kids I have, their eyes widen just a tiny bit when I hold up a full hand. Having what’s considered a large family in the OC, I can definitely tell you I have learned to roll with the punches. Some evenings when the day got ahead of me and we dine on mac n cheese and ketchup, I wonder, as all moms do, if I am doing enough for them. One thing sacred to my husband Levi and myself though, in which we really push ourselves to invest time and energy on, is celebrating each kid’s birthday in a meaningful way.

A Jewish birthday is “the day that Hashem decided the world cannot exist without you- a day that G‑d says you matter!”

I remember telling that to my son, Yakov when he turned seven. He turned to me and asked me so innocently, “Mommy, does that mean I matter in a big way?”. An innocent question, yet profound on so many levels. It got me thinking. How can we incorporate Judaism into each kid’s special day? The Lubavitcher Rebbe placed a huge emphasis on birthdays and using them to better ourselves and the world around us.

Here are some thing she taught us and what we do with our kids:

Give, Give and Give! Yes, getting gifts are so much fun and we of course bestow them as well. However, the look of pure pride and joy on a kids face when they give charity to others is incomparable to anything else. Depending on their ages, we usually give them coins to put into their own Tzedakah Box, or they can deliver food to a homeless person or create a gift bag for a family on need, etc. This decision is made by each kid and tailored to their personality and preferences.

Take a moment and share the beauty and messages of the Torah with your young child at their level ocjewish.com has wonderful insights enjoyed by all ages shameless plug :))

Many have the custom of purchasing a new fruit that they haven’t eaten in a full year and saying the Blessing “Shehechiyanu”. This teaches the lesson of fresh beginnings and appreciating G‑d’s bounty.

New Year Resolution: Talk about adding in a mitzvah to increase in kindness and Torah connection. This small step will show your child how a Jew thinks; always increasing in goodness to illuminate the world.

Most importantly, celebrate! You made it through another year! You got this Momma!

*We follow the lunar (Jewish calendar) and celebrate a Jewish birthday from sundown to sundown. To calculate a Jewish birthday go to ocjewish.com/birthday.