Each week, during our family worship service on Shabbat morning, we invite parents to participate in our service by presenting a D’var Torah. A letter is sent to each family at the beginning of the school year, with an assigned date, and the torah parasha for that week. The instructions are very simple – they are told to teach a lesson, tell a story, lead a discussion, conduct a question and answer period – do whatever they feel most comfortable with. The education director provides them with websites, and the rabbi is available for assistance. Most parents do this on their own, with little help, but some do ask for support.
There is an option to change their date if the assigned one is not convenient, and this is a totally voluntary program, so there is also the right to refuse. Most parents gladly accept, and enjoy it. For them, it’s a great way to be a role model for their children, and it gives them a chance to feel part of the service. For the children, it’s a way to learn the weekly parasha, and often to participate in the d’var torah. We have had a variety of presentations, including question and answer periods where “prizes” (candy) were given for correct answers, plays performed by members of the family, and many wonderful stories have been told. This is a very successful program, and one which is enjoyed by all.