Musings on Jewish Education and Jewish Living

A Yom Gleepur Message

Okay, I’ll admit it – that was a really bad pun.  I’ll also happily admit that I am a Gleek.  I love the music and dancing and I think the Glee actors are incredibly talented.  I especially love the way it speaks to a generation of teens growing up in a really difficult world.  I find its positive messages about friendship, diversity, sexuality, and embracing and loving who you are inspiring.  Although it can be preachy at times, more often than not, I find something meaningful and thought-provoking that helps me to understand a little better how to help our kids navigate through challenging times.

Take last night’s episode, for example.  “Tough love feels a lot like mean,” Brittany told Cheerios coach, Sue Sylvester.  I thought about that statement throughout the episode, in terms of Brittany’s situation as well as the “tough love” Rachel’s dance instructor lavished upon her.

Tough love probably does feel like mean.  I have often wondered who it is meant to help, the giver or the receiver.  Does tough love have the desired effect on the recipient?  Or is it meant to release the one enacting it from the pain and responsibility of the poor choices made by another?  Sometimes tough love is the right and necessary choice at least for one party, hopefully for both.

At the end of the episode someone said, “God made you and God doesn’t make mistakes.”  (I wish I could remember which character said it…!)  In Jewish terms, we are created b’tselem Elohim,” in God’s image, endowed with the God-like qualities of intelligence, compassion, creativity, and more.  As Yom Kippur approaches, it behooves us to remember that God created us and God doesn’t make mistakes.  No matter how far we stray, no matter how many bad choices we make, God makes no mistakes.  Each one of us is worthy of God’s forgiveness – and our own – and God awaits our return.

G’mar chatima tova – May we all be sealed for goodness and blessing in the coming year.  Ken yehi ratzon, Be this God’s will.

I would love to hear from you and invite you to join the conversation. If you are not comfortable responding here, please feel free to send me a private email at


Comments on: "A Yom Gleepur Message" (3)

  1. Sharon Miller said:

    Lisa, Dianna Agron who plays Quinn on Glee lived in SA while her father was GM at the Hyatt Riverwalk hotel and attended Temple Beth-El.

  2. While I’m not a gleek and didn’t see the episode, I agree, but I think that parents who raise their kids with love probably won’t get to the point of having to do the “tough love” thing. Love, to me, encompasses a whole lot of “stuff”- including teaching children, from a very young age, things like responsibility and kindness; and then using every possible opportunity to teach them about doing the “right” thing- most of all through being an example for them (by not doing what you don’t want them to do like smoke, or pop pills or whatever). I think too many people confuse love with giving in to a child’s every wish, and a child raised thusly ends up feeling entitled and then treats others badly or gets into trouble, and parents wonder why. Those same parents, too often, blame someone else and constantly bail their child out. What could’ve been used as a teaching moment about consequences is gone. As a teacher, I’ve seen this happen many times, and if I could tell parents one thing it would be to let your children fail sometimes, to give them meaningful consequences when they mess up…it’s better to happen when they’re young than when they are old enough to be in the kind of trouble that will affect them for the rest of their lives. 🙂

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