This past weekend, our educational organization, JFX, offered a little experiment: an “outreach” Shabbaton for Orthodox Jews. A Shabbaton is a weekend retreat, often at a hotel, where Jewish folks celebrate Shabbat together, usually with workshops or other inspirational and motivational sessions. In an Orthodox-led retreat, there is observance of Shabbat in public spaces (no photos, microphones, electronic media).
JFX is an organization that mostly services families whose kids are in public school (although we have a nice minority of day school families), so this “Orthodox-only” Shabbaton was new for us. Our thought process: often, people need to zoom out in their Judaism and seem to really appreciate a back-to-basics approach that organizations like ours offer, since we don’t assume that anyone knows or believes anything. We have found that Orthodox people, whether they’ve been so their whole lives, and thus never experienced this “outreach” approach to education, or whether they are “BTs” – people who have become religious as adults or teens – and have moved through and past the “outreach” approach, and miss it, very often crave the kind of positive, panoramic style of teaching we offer.
(Sidebar: in no way am I suggesting that “our” style of education is superior to “classic” Orthodox education. Different models are appropriate for different situations.)
So, the Shabbaton.
A lot of really interesting things came to light, in contrasting this particular Shabbaton with the others we run. Maybe another post one day. But for now, I wanted to focus on one thing. We had a panel discussion on Shabbat afternoon, which covered topics such as “Balance in Family – Kids and Marriage,” “Love and Discipline in Parenting,” “Making Judaism Real for your Kids,” and “Happiness.” One of the questions was:
We all know that in order to raise emotionally and spiritually healthy children, we need both unconditional love and clear boundaries. What is your red line in parenting? Which battles do you pick?
Every single one of our panelists gave the same response (which didn’t happen with other questions). I am really curious if this is an “Orthodox thing” or a “universal thing,” so I am turning it over to you guys.
How would you answer this question, and do you affiliate Orthodox? At the end, I’ll tell you what they said!