Shalom Bayit

Respecting the Family Unit

“Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations. All this is put in your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honour it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it on to your children.”Albert Einstein

In Judaism the family unit is the keystone upon which all the other parts of our Jewish lives are based. Since the beginning of our recorded history the family unit (in whatever form that may take) has played a large part in our identity, both as individuals who are part of the Jewish people and the Jewish nation’s identity as a whole.

The Jewish family unit is where many types of education happen, in Middot (manners and values) as well as in religion and academics. We believe that the best way for the children, young adults, future adults and parents to be kept safe in terms of sexual health, is for the subject of  relationships and sex to be as normal in family life as any other subjects.

In the same way that we educate our young people at the right age and in the right circumstance about deep religious or life lessons that we have to impart, we should also be comfortable enough both with the embarrassment that the conversation might bring and with the knowledge we have to impart, to have the same discussions about relationships and sex.

If a person feels alienated from their family by their personal experiences that they do not feel comfortable sharing with their family, this may cause the family unit to suffer and, in extreme cases, break down. We need to build a home where the most important thing is our children’s welfare.

When children’s actions or values are out of sync’ with our own, then to care for them we need to educate ourselves, sometimes in matters that we find foreign, difficult or disturbing. This enables us to talk to them about the things that they worry about, the things that we need to support them through and we cannot give them support about matters we know nothing about.