Hanukkah Advice From Parenting Expert Dasee Berkowitz

In this video, Dasee Berkowitz, the founder of Ayeka’s Becoming a Soulful Parent program, and the author of Becoming a Soulful Parent: A Path to the Wisdom Within discusses various perspectives on celebration during the Shmita year and offers practical and uplifting suggestions on how to make this Hanukkah special, whatever form it takes for you and your loved ones. (To learn more about the Shmita year, scroll down).

What is the Shmita year?

This year is what’s known in the Jewish calendar as a Shmita year. Just as we have Shabbat on the seventh day, we have a Shmita year on the seventh year. The Torah advises that this is a time to let the land rest, to forgive debts, for private landholders to open their space to all, and to freely share our harvests with all who need it. And during a Shmita year, we can take time to approach our celebrations and life milestones from this perspective as well.

A picture containing outdoors people working on the Abundance Farm

Community members at Congregation B’nai Israel, Northampton, MA remove the gate to its community garden, Abundance Farm, allowing people and animals free access to the land during the Shmita year.

Discussion Questions:

  • What does the phrase, “No more than my place, and no less than my space” (Alan Morinis) actually mean and how do you feel as you navigate this space between arrogance and humility?
  • What is the Shmita year (Sabbatical year) and how does the release mindset affect your Hanukkah plans?
  • What are some specific, easy exercises you and your family can do together to prepare for Hanukkah and flex your spiritual muscles?


About the Author

Dasee Berkowitz was one of the original bloggers for the online Jewish parenting resource Kveller.com. She has guest-written for the popular parenting lifestyle blog, “Cup of Jo” and is a frequent contributor to Haaretz, The Forward, Jewish Telegraph Agency, Times of Israel. Dasee’s writing is featured in the award-winning book on motherhood, Purple Leaves, Red Cherries: A Gift for Mothers with Short Stories, Journal & Toolkit. Her podcast, “Inspired Parenting”, a joint project by Ayeka and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, debuted in Fall 2018.

Dasee is a regular contributor at PJ Library and lives in Jerusalem with her husband and three children. You can learn more about Dasee at https://soulfulparent.com/.