Editor's Note: Welcome to Red
Thread's new advice columnist,
Debra Darvick, a longtime De-
troiter with Southern roots. Her
sample advice column rose to the
top of 60 submissions. Thanks to
all who applied. We have some very
wise readers out there. Enjoy.
continued from page 40
Each month, Debra
Darvick will dish out her
own brand of advice.
Got a question for her?
Email her at debralexl @
sbcglobal.net with "Dear
Debra" in the subject line.
Q: My son is getting serious with a lovely, non-Jewish
girl. What do I do? I'm hoping for
The moms make friends, too: Julie Goldman, Laura Hirschhorn, Danielle Sigler and Dena Rosenberg.
Above: Lilah Glazer, 6, and Abby Hirschhorn, 3, became
buddies at the first SPARC meeting at Detroit Kid City.
Left: A happy family: Hannah, Lisa and Lilah Glazer
her "customers" told her they didn't have any money to
pay for the sandwich she made for him, she promptly
went to the bank and got some money so he could pay
for his lunch. At 6, Lilah's Jewish instincts kicked in to
provide for somebody in need.
Her mother, Lisa Glazer, brought her and her sister
Hannah, 4, to the event.
Danielle Sigler of Huntington Woods and her two
daughters, Briyah, 4, and Maliyah, 7, were inspired
to attend because, Danielle says, "It looked like there
would be a lot of fun things for kids to do and friends to
Friends were made indeed. Laura Hirschhorn of
Huntington Woods mentioned to Glazer how much fun
her daughter, Abby, 3, was having with Hannah.
"We went to see what SPARC was all about, thinking
it may be an avenue to meet other parents like myself"
Hirschhorn explains "I thought the venue would be a
great place, and it was."
The second outing hosted by SPARC was held recent-
ly at the Barbara and Douglas Bloom Matzah Factory at
the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield.
SPARC's creative team is planning regular events for
families with kids of all ages and for parents only as
well. Future events will include bowling and Shabbat
dinners at local congregations and in people's homes.
SPARC is available to all members of the Jewish com-
munity who are single parents, regardless of affiliation
to a synagogue. The program staff can help families
identify the best options for them with regard to syna-
gogues, Jewish education, camps, youth groups and
mitzvah projects, along with scholarship opportunities
40 April 2013 I
where they are needed.
"People are often hesitant to ask for a scholarship,"
says Jeff Lasday, director of the Alliance for Jewish Edu-
cation. "We advocate for them and help them to gain
access to these opportunities that are available to them:'
A key focus of SPARC is to strengthen Jewish identity
within the single-parent family.
"When people suddenly becomes single, they are in
crisis mode," Lasday says. "We are here to help them
get through the challenges they face and help them to
understand that they have a place in the Jewish com-
Newman adds, "Parenting is hard enough even when
you are married, so if there is anything we can do to
help our single Jewish parents, that's what we're here
Ignite the SPARC
Parents can visit the SPARC Facebook page
or log on to http://jewishdetroit.org/
programs/jewish-ed ucation/sing le-pa rents
for more information about SPARC. They are
also encouraged to complete the intake form
to become part of SPARC's database and let
SPARC know what they can do to best meet
So was Abraham; that's why
he sent his servant to fetch
Isaac a bride. But who has
-4 servants to go bride-seeking
these days? If the girlfriend
is willing, invite her into your
family's Jewish life. Hope, but
don't geshrei (holler) over
Jewish grandchildren and
conversion. Start with today. Remind your son
how Jewish homes provide structure, ethics,
community. Better one solid religion than none
or two done light (menorah and tree, matzah
and bunnies, but little else). If his girlfriend
worships elsewhere, is he comfortable raising
them in her church? Alas, you have no control;
you can have gentle, respectful influence.
Q: My child is invited to one bar/bat mitzvah after
another. What is the appropriate amount to spend on
Consider what's appropriate for your family's
budget. Lavish gifts aren't necessary, especially
if your child is the only invitee from your family
and the bar/bat mitzvah is a casual classmate.
A"chai" gift of $18 goes far on iTunes. Going
Dutch on a gift is another way to stretch the
budget. You might consider asking your child
to contribute a modest sum, say a dollar or
two from babysitting or chore money for each
gift. It's never too early to learn the realities of
finances. Remind your child that what counts
most is his/her presence, not the present.
Q: My mother-in-law is always butting in on deci-
sions that should be between my husband and me. He
doesn't speak up, and it's causing problems between
us. Any advice?
Muster a friendly and firm, "Thanks, Mom,"
thus acknowledging her need to be involved.
You can't force hubby to confront her, but you
can expect him to engage in, and stand by,
decisions the two of you make together. Next
time a decision needs addressing, initiate the
discussion. Tell your husband how important it
is that you reach a decision together because
more than anyone, you both know what's best
for your family. If the buttinsky ways continue,
tell mom-in-law you and her son are consider-
ing a move to Australia. What does she think of