Honoring Our Fathers

After you've done the ties, after-shave, and golf balls.

Since Father's Day began in 1910 in Washington State, people have been giving cards, neckties, and steak dinners. It has also been a time when we reflect on our fathers and how they have shaped our lives.



The classic joke about Jewish fathers is an exchange between a young boy returning from school and his mother. The boy says, "I got the part of the Jewish father in the school play." The mother replies, "Oh, I'm so sorry. Maybe next year you'll get a speaking part."

More for Father's Day:

  • A Step-Dad Makes Every Day Father's Day

  • Everything I Need to Know ...I Learned From My Kids!

  • Jean Fitzpatrick on Fathers and Spirituality

  • Not all Jewish fathers are quiet types, or Woody Allen stand-ins who explain, "I'm the boss, your mother is just the decision maker." Some have been powerful and passionate, others outspoken and defiant. And in truth, no joke or personality trait can accurately describe the men who faced the challenge of balancing career, family, and the outside pressures to be a success in America.

    Jewish fathers in particular have gone through enormous changes in the last three generations. In 1900, 80% of Jewish fathers in America were working blue-collar jobs, generally in textile factories.


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    Rabbi Daniel Brenner is the Director of the National Jewish Resource Center at CLAL: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership

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    Rabbi Daniel Brenner

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