Press Release


Jessica Gurtman,
Vicki Weber,


Memoir-Style Parenting Guide Illuminates the

Spiritual Rewards in the Practical Moments of Child-Rearing



(June 21, 2011, Springfield, NJ)  “Having a baby changes everything.” This often repeated refrain warns that becoming a parent is a big transformation. But parents are frequently left wondering: How does it change everything? And while many books deal with the practical reality of changing diapers and consoling the colicky infant, few address how parenthood changes one’s heart and soul. Some volumes cover what we should teach our children; Blessings and Baby Steps: The Spiritual Path of Parenthood, by Rabbi Ilana Grinblat (Behrman House), shows what we can learn from them.

• How can you find inspiration from rocking your child to sleep at 2:00 am?

• How could toilet training possibly offer a new perspective on life?

• Why would you choose to walk your children to the pre-school classroom when it’s so much easier to just drop them off in the carpool line?


Scheduled for release on July 15, 2011, Blessings and Baby Steps charts the spiritual journey of parenthood from pregnancy through preschool. Rabbi Grinblat interweaves personal parenting experiences with tales from the Bible and Jewish tradition along with stories from her friends, family, teachers, colleagues, and congregants. Each chapter offers an insight from a particular moment of parenting and highlights a quality that this stage nourishes.


Blessings and Baby Steps focuses on parenting young children, yet its spiritual lessons can speak to anyone. The book wrestles with the central questions of life, including dealing with painful experiences, appreciating simple moments, and finding meaning in everyday life. Dr. Fran Walfish, Child and Family Psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent, described Blessings and Baby Steps as: “A wonderful read for anyone who has a child, was a child, or cares about children. Great for the Jewish parent, great for the Presbyterian parent, the Buddhist, and even the skeptic.”


Blessings and Baby Stepsshows how children, indeed, can change everything—including how we view time, work, money, sex, love, family, friendship, nature, humanity, ourselves, and ultimately God. From morning sickness to sleepless nights, from labor pains to temper tantrums, parenthood presents many frustrations. This book grapples honestly with those challenges and reveals spiritual lessons along the way. The stories illustrate how children can offer us new perspectives and strengthen our character. This work shows how, despite the struggles, “having a baby changes everything” for the better.


Testimonials for Blessings and Baby Steps:

“We all understand that becoming a parent changes our lives in so many ways. In this charming memoir,RabbiIlana Grinblat opens our eyes to how it can enrich us spiritually as well—a gift we all need.”

                                                            Rabbi Harold Kushner, Author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People


“Most of us who have raised children can relate to the fatigue, the constant cleaning, feeding, bathing, and bedtime – and all the toil that is inevitably part of parenting. But it takes a special soul – and a gifted writer – to show us the mysterious and miraculous just behind the mess, the manifold ways in which our children raise us and teach us no less than we raise and teach them. Rabbi Ilana Grinblat is precisely that sort of woman, mother and writer, and through her eyes and this enchanting book, she treats us to a wondrous glimpse of how a truly sensitive soul like hers can learn, grow and deepen from the moments we least expect to be transformative. We emerge from reading Blessings and Baby Steps moved by her insight, and more importantly, hopeful that her sensitivity and ways of seeing the world could also become ours.”

Rabbi Daniel Gordis, National jewish Book Award  Winner, Author of 
God Was Not in the Fire and If a Place Can Make You Cry


As a mother who felt spiritually challenged and transformed by the birth of my son I have been waiting for this book for a long time! Few if any explore birth and parenting at all or with such spiritual depth. As a Christian I resonated and learned from Rabbi Grinblat's scriptural and theological insights. Whatever your spiritual or religious background, whether you adopted or birthed a child or not, you will find this book a blessing on your spiritual journey.

 Rev. Jennifer Butler, Executive Director, Faith in Public Life


“Rabbi Ilana Grinblat has created a spiritual framework for the mysteries, challenges, and wonders of parenthood.  Whether you are pregnant, in the early stages of parenting, or nostalgically reflecting on a time gone by, Parenting and Spirituality offers much wisdom.   By referring to ancient Jewish teachings, Rabbi Grinblat is able to find the miraculous and holy even in everyday experiences. The reader of this book will discover many life lessons, perspective to face each day in the awe-inspiring journey of parenthood, and a deep appreciation for all that we learn from our children. As Rabbi Grinblat reminds us, ‘Raising children is a sacred experience.’” 

—Marcie Greenfield Simons, Director, PJ Library


About the Author:


Rabbi Ilana Berenbaum Grinblat teaches at the American Jewish University’s Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles. Rabbi Grinblat is a prolific writer on parenting and spirituality. Her parenting columns have been featured in the websites of the Forward, the Jewish Journal, and the Washington Jewish Week, and her blog can be found at She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Tal, and their children, Jeremy and Hannah.


About Behrman House:

Behrman House is a publisher of general and educational Judaica. Founded in 1921, the firm has published such well-known authors as Abba Eban, Milton Steinberg, Lucy Dawidowicz, and Rabbi David Wolpe. Behrman House is the winner of two distinguished Achievement Awards from the Association of Educational Publishers. Learn more at




Blessings and  Baby Steps: The Spiritual Path of Parenthood




Trade Paperback


July 15, 2011




6-1/4” X 9”