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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Interview with a Wise Woman: Jane Isay

Author of Unconditional Love: A Guide to Navigating the Joys and Challenges of Being a Grandparent Today, Jane Isay was transformed by the births of her four grandchildren and has run groups offering a warm place to discuss grandparenting in the time of Covid. Though…

A Grandparents Day Discovery Adventure

Attention and greetings grandchildren! On Grandparents Day, we recognize and thank our grandparents for all they do for our families.  But what do we really know about them? Below is a Grandparents’ Scavenger Hunt. We encourage you to annoy your parents and grandparents until, together,…

6 Ways to Celebrate Grandparents Day

We are so fortunate that Grandparents Day falls right in the middle of the ten Days of Awe. Here are six awesome ways to celebrate National Grandparents Day, September 12, 2021. In six words write what it means to you to be a grandparent. We…

Boomer Lullabies

As a child, on nights when I slept at my grandparents’ small home on Thornhill Avenue in Little Neck, New York, Nana Francis would soak me in what felt like near–boiling water and scrub me with a loofa pad until my skin shone a bright…

With Gratitude As We Begin 5782

On behalf of the Jewish Grandparents Network family, we send our best wishes to you, your families, loved ones, and friends for a happy, healthy, and sweet New Year.  May the Jewish year 5782 be filled with joy, delight, and discovery.  May it be a year of…

Our Favorite Rosh Hashanah Recipes

With rich flavors from pomegranate to saffron, these Tori Avey recipes with videos offer tasty turns on traditional favorites. A memorable tzimmes has never been easier, a Persian Jewish side dish is a fragrant and savory complement, and the challah is a sweet surprise.  Every…

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…

Tzedek Box: Repairing the World, One Righteous Act at a Time

Learn how to keep a family journal of righteous acts with the Tzedek Box. As Andrew Mandel explains, it’s a way of passing along Jewish values and commitments with a ritual that sparks introspection and bonding.  The dog days of summer mean that our Hebrew month…

How the High Holy Days Sounded 100 Years Ago

Curated by Hankus Netsky Ever wonder whether your high holiday experience sounds like the one your grandparents had? Courtesy of the internet, we can revisit some of the great High Holiday moments of the twentieth century, experiencing the passion and urgency of the classic Eastern European Jewish prayer tradition.   …

Tashlich for Children: A Ritual that Welcomes Creativity

Just add water: Invite your grandchildren and family members to embrace and add their own creative touches to the Rosh Hashanah ritual of Tashlich   Because the Rosh Hashanah ritual of Tashlich came late to Judaism (it dates to the 13th century), it is among…

Wonders of Taiglach: Goodness, Gracious, Great Balls of Dough

The sticky, nearly impenetrable mound of dough, nuts, and sweets that was once a fixture of our Rosh Hashanah holiday tables became a shorthand for the joys of the “High Holy Days.” What are today’s taiglach? How do we bring sweetness to our family tables…

The Afghan

It was the perfectly silly Zayde game.  I covered Bina, my 18-month-old granddaughter, up with the blanket and she’d pretend to be asleep. I pulled the blanket back and she giggled and announced “awake”.  We did this 10 or 11 times until it was time…

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…

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,…

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…