Our Families

Join our community of grandparents, family members and professionals by reading these stories and essays and submitting your own posts to: info@jewishgrandparentsnetwork.org

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Chai Mitzvah Tikkun Leil Shavuot 

Shavuot, which begins at sundown on May 16, 2021 and ends at sunset on May 18, is a major Jewish holiday celebrated forty-nine days after the second day of Passover. It was originally a harvest festival, but now also commemorates the giving of the Torah….

Recipes for Memories

Our Bubbie Ida Paperny, lived in the kitchen. Seriously. She also “loved” in the kitchen. She loved when her four daughters helped her cook up a huge family Shabbat or holiday meal. Our mothers too, excellent cooks both, worked for hours over hot stoves to…

Ten Minute Virtual Dayenu Seder

Passover begins on the evening of March 27, 2021 Once again, this night will truly be different from all other nights. We are pleased to offer the updated “Ten Minute Dayenu Virtual Seder” designed for multi-generational families to use on the shared video platform of…

The Plague and Promise of Darkness

A d’var Torah (Torah Discussion) Presented by David Raphael at Congregation Or Hadash, Sandy Springs, GA January 22, 2021 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Hold out your arm toward the sky that there may be darkness upon the land of Egypt, a darkness that…

Learning From Challenges, Past and Present

The eminent psychologist Marshall Duke speaks of our “intergenerational sense of self,” in which the family narratives of our past gird our psyche with the emotional resilience to face challenges and difficulties. By sharing with our children and grandchildren our families’ and our own stories—of…

The COVID-19  Crisis: A Catalyst for Change

As vaccinations advance and new COVID-19 cases diminish, we can begin to look beyond the difficulties and heartbreaks of these past months to imagine brighter times ahead. Through our research and conversations with grandparenting experts, and grandparents and their family members across the country, we…

With Us Under the Huppah

My maternal grandmother, Lena Krostar Gorbach, was the only grandparent I knew. She was born around 1880 in the Pale of Settlement to parents who had an arranged marriage, as was customary for Jews at that time.  Her parents soon divorced; her mother came to…

Gram and Groucho

When I was age eight my maternal grandfather Max, passed away. My grandmother Bessie, known as “Gram”, moved into our two-bedroom apartment in a Bronx city housing authority building. She and my grandfather, immigrants from Romania and Russia, came to America in the early 1900’s seeking…

Thoughts on Grandparenting During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Interview with Dr. Renee Cherow-O’Leary

Can you share a bit about your experience during the COVID-19 pandemic? As grandparents, my husband and I have tried to keep enthusiasm high, find new books and activities to share on Face Time, talk and listen, laugh at silly things, celebrate birthdays and Seders,…

New Jewish Grandparents Network Findings: Grandparenting during COVID

The Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the crucial role grandparents play. In many families, grandparents have stepped up and stepped in to help exhausted parents with remote learning, everyday chores, and basic childcare. There is, of course, another difficult side of the Covid experience for grandparents….

Counting Latkes

There are fifty latkes on this tray,” my 95-year-old mother says. I nod and continue peeling potatoes. My sister is frying. My niece is chopping onions. My mother spreads another paper towel on a cookie sheet, and continues counting. It’s that time of year. Where…

Thanksgiving 2020: Finding Gratitude When We’re Gathering Differently

How to have a meaningful and fun COVID-19 Thanksgiving celebration!   Thanksgiving will be here in a few weeks. For many of us it will not be the Thanksgiving of years past. Even as that saddens us, we yearn for greater connection with those we…

Connecting with Your Grandchildren in Pandemic Times and Beyond

If the Corona Virus teaches us anything, it is that our relationships matter and that our relationships won’t last forever. We know this. Yet, the current pandemic has heightened our awareness of life’s preciousness in a far greater scope than most of us have ever…

Freedom’s Feast

Thanksgiving will be here in a few weeks. For many of us it will not be the Thanksgiving of years past. Even as that saddens us, we yearn for greater connection with those we love and a more meaningful celebration of the holiday’s purpose. We…

Multi-Generational Families and the Covid-19 Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted every family, and every family differently.  So too has it affected grandparents. Since the onset of the pandemic, the Jewish Grandparents Network has gathered significant anecdotal information about how the crisis has impacted intergenerational relationships and the roles that grandparents…

Memories of Pancakes

Yesterday morning I got a Facetime call from my granddaughter Maya. She sat with her beautiful animated face front and center on the screen as she smiled broadly. She called to tell us that she was eating pancakes for breakfast. Maya usually eats “oaties with…

Words Create Worlds

I will never forget a story I heard from a dear friend. She recounted to me that she and her family were out for brunch with the grandparents. Halfway through the meal, her mother-in-law looked at her eight-year old granddaughter and asked her when she…

Frog Tashlikh OR if a frog jumps into a pond…

Intro to Frog Tashlikh: We are taking a frog that grew from a tiny tadpole as part of an egg sac accidently dropped (we assume) by a bird into a container near my garden earlier this summer.  This event became part of our ongoing lesson…

Emotional Challenges and Emotional Wellbeing During the Covid19 Pandemic

On September 8 and 10, 2020, the Jewish Grandparents Network and the Blue Dove Foundation hosted a two-part series focusing on the emotional challenges grandparents, parents, and children are facing during the Covid19 pandemic and approaches to promoting emotional well-being and resilience. We are please…

Pay Attention to Your Grandchild’s Tropisms

Giving your grandchild your attention is a better gift than a trust fund. You can cheer on the toddler’s first steps, listen to a 4-year-old’s lecture about dinosaurs, or attend a 10-year-old’s piano recital. Even better, you can pay attention to your grandchild’s tropisms. If…

Influencers Are Everywhere, Not Just on Social Media

You become who you hang out with, or put more humorously, “funny how much better we understand the Jell-O when we’ve seen the mold.” To My Beloved Grandchildren, You are too young to remember the comic strip, Cathy. It was drawn by Cathy Guisewite and…

Family Is a Safety Net

When I was a child I had a plan in place “should anything happen to my mom and dad.” It was simple; I’d just go live with my Aunt Betty, my mom’s sister. Clueless as to what plans my folks might have made in that…

Rosh Hashanah Books for Children and their Parents and Grandparents

The High Holy Days are upon us, and this year most of us will not be gathering with family or attending services in person. Luckily, we can still connect with loved ones by video chat to share special holiday moments on Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts,…

Framing the Story

In partnership with The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot, in Tel Aviv Israel, the Jewish Grandparents Network is pleased to announce a new initiative “Framing the Story” Framing the Story invites grandparents to reach into their family photo albums to find pictures…

David Raphael Talks About Grandparenting Today

David Raphael, Jewish Grandparents Network Executive Director, recently appeared on the “Book of Life” Podcast.  Also appearing on the podcast is actor Ed Asner and Anne-Marie Asner, reading Anne-Marie’s new children’s book Bubbe & Zaide.  The Book of Life Podcast is Produced by Feldman Children’s Library…

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…