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Parental Guidance

Four times a year, 10 or so men in Stamford, Conn., gather in one another’s homes for Fathers First, a support group celebrating the (sometimes messy) blessing that is fatherhood. Rabbi David Hordiner ’95, director of Gan Yeladim Early Childhood Center and the father of six—ages 11, 9, 7, 5, 3, and 1—leads the discussion and ties it back to Jewish teachings—mindful of when to step in with advice and wisdom, but always willing to share his own struggles.

“When it comes to my family, I admit I’m not an expert, and I think the fathers appreciate that. I’m learning, too,” he says. “Giving them a place to say, ‘This is something that’s hard at my house,’ and to be able to hear other dads say, ‘Me too,’ has really struck a chord.”

As a philosophy major at Swarthmore, Hordiner was motivated by a love of learning, growth, and truth, three things he brings to the Fathers First
forum—and to his role as a dad.

“We’re trying to learn the best methods, philosophies, and ways of thinking and how they impact our practice as parents,” he says. “We’re all growing
together. That’s the true success of the group.”