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At a Good Hour: Awaiting a Grandchild in 2020

Six years ago, the blueberries were still green in New Hampshire when I was awaiting the birth of my first grandchild. I remember wondering which would pop first: the blueberries or my daughter-in-law. In Judaism, upon hearing of a pregnant woman, a traditional response is…

When the World Is Too Much with Us

My father-in-law, called “GaGa” by his grandchildren, was a well-to-do man by any measure but refused to eat potatoes for his entire adult life—not even a french fry could cross his lips. To him, potatoes tasted like poverty because, during his childhood, potatoes were often…

A Note from Lee & David

The Covid19 crisis has impacted us and everybody we know.  For grandparents, this has meant unexpected isolation from our families and the heartache that goes with it.  Grandparents have told us that being kept apart from their grandchildren has created a visceral sense of pain. …

Uncle Myron, the Orioles and a Hot Dog

When my Uncle Myron, known to most as Rabbi Myron M. Fenster, was to visit Baltimore for the annual gathering of the Rabbinical Assembly asked for a favor, I couldn’t say no.  He wanted to go to an Orioles game at Camden Yards.  What was…

No Son of Mine Is Going to Grow Up in a Place Like This

My maternal great uncle Earl was conceived by my grandmother during the Spanish Flu epidemic when my grandmother became sick with the flu. Like many other infants carried to term under those conditions, Earl was born with significant developmental disabilities. Unlike many others, however, my maternal…

Chesed and Gevura

26th of Nissan in the Year of the Corona Virus As a grandparent of four, I often wonder about my unique role in sharing with my grandchildren the beauty and brilliance of Judaism. What are Jewish values and why do they matter? What makes them…

For My Granddaughter who is Two and ¾’s During the Pandemic

The granddaughter to whom this poem is dedicated is my 6th grandchild and 4th granddaughter. She is my daughter’s 2ndchild. When she was born, I was the first person to hold her. Her mom had a planned C-section and for medical reasons had general anesthesia….

Interfaith Soulfulness

I sat in the Yom Kippur service listening to a baritone voice singing, “Ashamnu, Bagadnu, Gazalnu, . . .” The voice belonged to my son, Jim. Jim was leading us in confessing that we have trespassed, we have betrayed, we have stolen, we have slandered….

Fifty Ideas for Grandparenting During the Covid-9 Crisis

Isolation does not mean being isolated from one another. We are all finding new ways to reach out and communicate with each other. Just because we’re practicing physical distancing, doesn’t mean we can’t stay connected with our loved ones. This list of resources is intended…

Ten Minute Virtual Dayenu Seder

Passover begins on the evening of April 8, 2020. Truly this night will be different from all other nights. We are all struggling with our changed lives. We need to give ourselves permission to do what we can. In that spirit, the Jewish Grandparents Network…

Passover 2020: Planning Your Online Seder

The Jewish Grandparents Network, Seder2020 & Haggadot.com partner to support families and friends to organize online Seders.   Step One: Choose a Video Conferencing Site by clicking HERE Need More Help? Facetime Skype WhatsApp WebEx Zoom Step Two: Plan Your Online Seder Click HERE to access the Seder 2020.org…

Online Resources for Passover 2020

We are pleased to share these Passover 2020 online resources.  Our thanks to the wonderful organizations who provide richness and meaning to our holidays.  We invite you to share additional resources either by responding to this post or by emailing info@jewishgrandparents.org. What is Passover? 18…

How Different Will This Night Be: 10 Tips for Your Virtual Seder

The greatest gathering of the Jewish year is nearly upon us and this year, the Passover Seder will be celebrated like no other. Mah Nishtanah Ha-Leila Ha-Zeh, indeed! Most translations of this famous line from the Seder portray it as a question: “Why is this night different…

Staying Connected in this Time of Social Distance

The COVID-19 virus and the social restrictions in place to mitigate its spread have impacted us all.  A friend, who is fortunate to have all of her grandchildren living nearby pines to see them – knowing she can’t. Grandparents living in New York while their…

Grandma, Grandpa, Tell Me a Story: The Special Role of Grandparents as Storytellers in Family Life

In October 2018, David Raphael, CEO of the Jewish Grandparents Network, facilitated a conversation between Marshall Duke, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Psychology at Emory University, and Ron Wolfson, Fingerhut Professor of Education at American Jewish University. These two master educators explored the role of…

Staying Connected – Letter by Letter

Fifteen years ago, our first granddaughter was born in San Francisco. Living in Baltimore, Maryland, my husband and I wondered how we would ever establish a warm and caring relationship from so far away. Like many of today’s grandparents, our family experiences were often different. …

Making Room For Each Other In Interfaith Families

“Grandpa, will you get your ice cream in a dish or in a cone?” my then-seven-year-old granddaughter, Amina, asked.  We were walking to the ice cream parlor in the little town in Connecticut where her mother was the rabbi of the local temple. I was…

The Gift of Trees

The well-being of the world depends on our generation. How will we respond? Once upon a time, about this time every year, our Hebrew school teachers would tell us the story of Honi Ha’ma’agal – Honi the circle-maker. The story was part of our annual…

The Shabbos Room

Designating one space in our home that is 100% Shabbat observant elevates our celebration of Shabbat and deepens our family’s joy in being together. Are you looking for ways to make Shabbat richer and more meaningful for yourselves and your family? Do you enjoy trying…

The Torah of Bubbiehood

We all know that bubbies are brilliant, but this bubbie has universal wisdom that could change your approach to everyday life.  Whether or not you are a bubbie, have a bubbie, met a bubbie or adopted a bubbie, Jane’s reflections will impact your perspective –…

Facing Infertility as a Grandparent

“Who among us does not have a story of a friend, daughter, daughter-in-law, son, son-in-law, or relative, who has found themselves trapped inside the world of infertility?  They blame themselves and become subsumed in the worlds of miscarriage, IVF, hormones, frozen embryos, injections, and endless…

Becoming Jew-ish Grandparents

My wife, Jacquie, and I are not Jewish. We are Christians. In fact, I was a Christian pastor for forty-five years and Jacquie and I continue to be active church members. But, like you, we have Jewish grandchildren. Jacquie and I can identify with Lee…

Grandparenting in the Age of Chrismukkah: 2019

For an increasing number of Jewish grandparents, the traditional Chanukah they celebrated with their children won’t be the Chanukah their grandchildren celebrate next week.  Instead, many grandchildren will be celebrating Chrismukkah, a pop-culture term for holiday celebrations that include traditions from both Chanukah and Christmas….

Blessings of Grandparenting

When I was ten years old, our family saw Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway.  This was a big deal.  My grandparents, who NEVER went to the theater, came.  As immigrants from Eastern Europe, Fiddler felt like their story. The first act climaxes with a…

Grandparenting Today: Talkin’ About Our Generation

As a bonafide Baby Boomer, I like to think of myself as someone who, along with my contemporaries, is reinventing the art of grandparenting. Oh sure, my cohorts and I will bake the Cookie Monster Oreos, read Dr. Seuss and celebrate the birthdays with trips…

A Hike Between the Seams

In the seam of time at the end of the summer,  I set off on a hike with my grandson Simon. At nine years, he is a sturdy and interesting child. These days that we spend without his parents are precious to us both, time…

These Are Not the Families We Imagined, But…  

When I married in 1974 and started to have our children (1,2,3,4) we went down a pretty conventional and predictable Jewish path … one pidyon ha-ben (the ceremony welcoming a first-born son) was followed by four bar and bat mitzvahs later. And then in birth order, our…

Won Ton Soup, Egg Rolls, Spare Ribs…..Wait!!!

Sunday night dinner at a Chinese restaurant; spare-ribs, wonton soup, chicken chow mein, fortune cookies, and orange slices.  In the 1950s and 60s, it was a hallowed tradition shared among Jewish families across North America.  And so, one Sunday evening, my grandparents, three sisters, and…

How Do We Keep Our Families Together?

Despite its tremendous joys, being a Jewish grandparent isn’t easy. Our kids are too religious or not religious enough. In other words, they don’t do it our way. This also applies to their thoughts about Israel: they may love it more than we do or…

Growing the Moral Imagination

It goes without saying that we love our grandkids. And we want them to grow up to be good people, open to others, accepting of differences, wise, and brave. I call this the moral imagination, and when we just hang out, love them, play cards,…