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Preface: This is not currently a practical issue, although since it is not so much about the halachic aspects, answers here would not be responses to a request for p'sak.

I follow Minhag Frankfurt on most matters. However, most American Jewish schools, either Modern Orthodox day schools or more Yeshivish/Chareidi batei midrash fall into a thoroughly Eastern European approach, as far as the Ashkenazi schools go.

This creates a neat conundrum: the children will be learning a separate set of minhagim and a different pronunciation than what a proper Jecke should use and home instruction might merely confuse the ketanim further, unless properly done.

While I have met some folks who have learned a separate minhag from their schools (eg. Chabadniks sending their kids to Litvish yeshivot, but teaching them Chabad nusach/minhagim) I have no knowledge of how to approach this, even though I study at one of the foremost universities in the American educational world.

Are there any works, practices, or other materials on how teaching children their family traditions (et c.) could be approached?

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    I have found that many rabbeim are ready to help parents teach minhagim. Check with your childs rebbe and he could probably help with this. – sabbahillel Mar 3 '16 at 0:25
  • @sabbahillel It sounds like you have some personal experience with this. Could you write that up into an answer? – Daniel Mar 3 '16 at 0:34
  • @sabbahillel, I've currently never been married, so I don't have any children to speak of. I'm also currently finishing up my BA, so I can't get into a serious relationship (b'ezras Hashem) until I'm finished. – Noach MiFrankfurt Mar 3 '16 at 1:21
  • @Daniel Actually, I do not think that I can go into any more detail. My children and grandchildren were never really in the position that you describe. They learned from our rabbi and from their rabbeim. – sabbahillel Mar 3 '16 at 2:39
  • @NoachmiFrankfurt My grand-daughter is approaching the right time. – sabbahillel Mar 3 '16 at 2:42
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When I was learning in yeshiva, I came home for Pesach and saw a homework sheet that Rabbi Moshe Juravel, a seasoned Mechanech in Baltimore (who studied in Lakewood) had sent home with my second grader brother. He had asked each child to ask his father what HIS Minhag was for Karpas. I was so impressed with that simple idea! It brought back a memory from my elementary school. When I began in day school, in third or fourth grade, (I had the same Rebbe in both) my Rebbe announced that his friend, a Rabbi from Israel, was coming from Israel to speak to us. This was big news as very few people could travel to or from Eretz Yisrael in the early 60's. When he came to our classroom, after his speech, the rebbe asked him "Would you like a drink of water?" He said, "yes." The rebbe handed him a glass, the Rabbi said, "Burich atuw ...Eloy-kynee meilech Hu-oylam..." When he finished, everyone answered "Amein" while I thought "my father knows how to read Hebrew! I don't understand why"(because I learned the American pronunciation) "but if Rebbe's friend speaks that way, then it must be ok!"

When I became a Rebbe, especially when I had a class from many different groups, Ashkenaz, Sephard, Chabad, Jecke, Israeli and Teiman, I tried to bring up such differences. (Of course I asked the question about Karpas!)

I also made a "Gadol of the Month" from the last 150 years except Tishrei. I picked those that had a Yahrzeit in the month. And then gave a picture [except for Gedalyah Ben Achikam and R Yisroel Salanter, who has no known picture] and gave a quick biography, descriptions of sefarim or important topics they stressed, especially those that have relevance to the kids (because of their parents, their teachers or their community, or other things they are aware of should be.

FYI:

  • 24 Elul: The Chaferz Chaim; Radin, Poland: Shmiras haLashon & Mishneh Brurah
  • 3 Tishrei: Gedalyah Ben Achikam
  • 7 Cheshvan Rav Meir Shapira (Polishe Chassidis); Daf Yomi; Askan (member of Polish Parliament); Rosh Yeshiva of Chachmei Lublin.
  • 2 Kislev: R' Aharon Kotler: Torah Lishmah
  • 27 Teves: R' Samson R. Hirsch, Frankfurt: 19 Letters, Horeb, The Pentateuch; Torah im Derech Eretz; established separate Orthodox Community in Frankfurt, Germany
  • 11 Shevat: R' Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson (the "Frierdickeh Lubavitcher Rebbe") re-establishing Chassidus on American shores; "America is 'nisht anderesht'!" (Not different)
  • 25 Shevat: R' Yisroel Lipkin (Salanter): Mussar; thinking about our actions; esp bein Adam LaChaveiro.
  • 27 Adar 1: Sarah Schenirer, started the idea of formal Chinuch for Girls in Lithuania, Poland etc, without which Judaism was dying in Europe; Bais Yaakov Seminary in Cracow; etc etc
  • 19 Iyar: Rav Ezra Attia; Rosh Yeshiva of Porat Yosef in Yerushalayim which produced many Sephardic Rabbanim
  • 6 Sivan: R Avraham Mordechai of Ger; re-establishing Polishe Chassidis in Eretz Yisroel. [This was done in 3rd grade]

I also would sometimes compare Minhagim and show that, although they seem different, they are based on similar ideas (ie Karpas) or they are essentially the same (I had one group of four Chabad first graders who wanted to daven from Nusach Ari [normally they would be allowed to do that in 2nd grade but one of them was politely insistent and persuaded the others to be"good Chassidim of the Rebbe".] So I made a worksheet showing the 15 Birchos HaShachar (morning Blessings) in three groups side by side, In the order of Ashkenaz, Sefard and Chabad (Ari). We read the endings group by group and then I asked them to do a match. The idea was to show that, except for a few slight variations in wording, they were the same, even though they were "different." I thought that this was a very important way to show the other kids that they were just fine and the Chabad children would understand that they had their way but wouldn't look down on the others.

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    That list is incredibly biased to Eastern Ashkenazi Jews. 9 eastern Ashkenazi, 1 western Ashkenazi, 1 Sefardi, and Gedalia. No Iraqis, Yemenites, Romaniotes, Benei Roma, Moroccans... – Double AA Mar 3 '16 at 4:12
  • First, I was looking at the class I had, especially the 1st ones, where I developed the idea. 2nd, you choose to look at the group as E European.they were diverse! Finally, the question was how can one deal w different MINHAGIM in a school.not how to give a class in the entire length & breadth of Galuth Jewry! In addition I spoke about The Ben Ish Chai on occasion. I even taught the Teimani pronunciation in class (Aleph Beth Veth Gimmel Daleth, hey Wow.... The idea was to teach RESPECT for other people's Minhagim and Respect and pride (ga'avah d'kedusha) for ones FATHER's Minhagim. – R Yisroel Meir Vogel Mar 3 '16 at 4:51
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    Quite frankly, I was fresh out of yeshiva at the time and I had in mind people that I had read about and or people who had impacted on me, my surroundings, as well as the families of the children. It was an ad on to my required standard Day School curriculum. But for reasons explained in the answer, I felt it very important. There was no intent to be thorough. Only to encourage good Middos, learning. So instead of "rebbe said we shouldn't hurt people's feelings" it would hopefully be "rebbe taught us about this great Rabbi that wrote ChofetzChaim and here is his Picture that I colored in!" – R Yisroel Meir Vogel Mar 3 '16 at 4:57
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    +1. I really like the way you approach teaching young children. – Mike Dec 19 '16 at 15:34

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