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

Click HERE for guidelines for posts on the Jewish Grandparents Network website.

Shabbat Discovery Kit

This interactive guide is designed especially for grandparents and grandchildren (ages 3–8) to use together — either in person or at a distance. The kit offers ideas and activities to bring Shabbat to life through play, imagination, and hands-on discovery. The 14 downloadable pages include:…

Behind the Scenes at the Jewish Grandparents Network

In this personal interview, David Raphael, Co-founder and CEO of the Jewish Grandparents Network, and Ilene Vogelstein, President, reveal: The compelling reasons that the Jewish Grandparents Network was created. How the voices of many Jewish grandparents have been sidelined in Jewish institutional life — and...

Shavuot Discovery Kit

This interactive guide is designed especially for grandparents and grandchildren (ages 3–8) to use together — either in person or at a distance. The kit offers ideas and activities to bring Shavuot to life through play, imagination, and hands-on discovery. The 13 downloadable pages include:…

Bat Mitzvah’s 100th Birthday

How Jewish life has changed since the first Bat Mitzvah 100 years ago

The Blessing of Making Aliyah at Age 79

David Raphael Note: I wrote this essay in 2010 and it was published in The Forward   Two years ago, at age 79, my mother became an olah hadashah, a new immigrant to Israel. We moved her to live in the small apartment above my…

Passover Discovery Kit

This interactive guide is designed especially for grandparents and grandchildren (ages 3–8) to use together — either in person or at a distance. The kit offers ideas and activities to bring Passover to life through play, imagination, and hands-on discovery. The 17 downloadable pages include:…

B-Mitzvah Family Text Discussion Cards

18 text discussion cards prompt B-Mitzvah teens and their families to relate thought-provoking texts from the Jewish tradition to their own lives.

Get Cooking with Your B-Mitzvah-Age Grandchild

Listen to what’s on your B-Mitzvah grandchild’s mind as you cook together.

Purim Discovery Kit

This interactive guide is designed especially for grandparents and grandchildren (ages 3–8) to use together — either in person or at a distance. The kit offers ideas and activities to bring Purim to life through play, imagination, and hands-on discovery. The 13 downloadable pages include:…

Grandparents Are Now Part of a National B–Mitzvah Family Education Program

Moving Traditions B-Mitzvah curriculum weaves in grandparents as integral to the family experience.

Music, Movement, and Dance: Grandparents and Elders’ Roles in the B-Mitzvah Rite of Passage

Music, movement, and dance are core ingredients in transforming B-mitzvah into a vibrant celebration.

How Grandparents Can Embrace and Affirm B-Mitzvah Grandchildren’s Many Identities

For nonbinary, transgender, or gender-expansive teens, grandparents can celebrate grandchildren in ways that honor who they are.

Mitzvah Project Partners — Grandchildren and Grandparents

When a teen grandchild collaborates with a grandparent on a mitzvah project, they can share their most important values.

Don’t Bite Your Tongue

Relationships with our adult children — the parents of our grandchildren — are often close, trusting, and warm. Yet these relationships can, at times, be difficult to manage. Sometimes a wrong word or a misread facial expression can lead to harsh words and anger. And…

Traveling with Your B-Mitzvah Grandchild

A skip-gen trip, especially to Israel, can be a peak B-Mitzvah experience for you and your grandchild.

Pulling Back the Turban

What the Sikh Turban-Tying ceremony can teach us about B-Mitzvah

Hanukkah Discovery Kit

This interactive guide is designed especially for grandparents and grandchildren (ages 3–8) to use together — either in person or at a distance. The kit offers ideas and activities to bring Hanukkah to life through play, imagination, and hands-on discovery. The 15 downloadable pages include:…

How to Talk with Your Grandchild about Becoming B-Mitzvah

3 strategies for having significant pre- and post- B-Mitzvah conversations with your grandchild

How Your Grandchild’s B-Mitzvah Can Enrich Your Relationship with Your Adult Child

Steps you can take to develop and enhance your own relationship with the parents of your B-Mitzvah grandchild

B-Mitzvah for All: Creating Accessible, Inclusive, and Meaningful Experiences for Teens of All Abilities

Steps for clergy and educators to imagine what is possible for the B-Mitzvah teen with disabilities.

Still Life Tells Moving Stories — A Grandparent-Grandchild Photography Experience

Combine the memory-power of objects and the ease of photography for you and your B-Mitzvah grandchild to share parts of yourselves.

Grandparents’ Role in Their Grandchildren’s B-Mitzvah Experience

JGN held a two-afternoon virtual symposium in May 2022 in which Jewish spiritual leaders, educators, ritualists, grandparents, and teens from across the country explored expansively how to transform grandparents’ roles in their grandchildren’s B-Mitzvah. The report below documents key findings and recommendations from the symposium….

The Power of Family Objects: Passing on Stories to Your Teen Grandchild

Our closets and cabinets are filled with ordinary personal treasures — a pitcher from an aunt, a grandfather’s Kiddush cup, trinkets you collected in a foreign country, a pocket watch that no longer works. Sometimes we forget the potent family stories they hold. We have…

Writing a Forever Letter as Your Grandchild Becomes B-Mitzvah

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Your grandchild is becoming B-Mitzvah. You envision them standing on the bimah, or perhaps encircled by family in a home celebration, chanting and singing and sharing the wisdom they have found in the Torah portion. At this milestone occasion, you may…

A Grandmother’s Reflection: Making the B-Mitzvah Journey with My Grandchildren

The B-Mitzvah walks across the bridge from childhood to young adulthood. It’s our Jewish way of accepting growth and inviting our teens into the community of adults. Grandparents can cross the bridge with them. We can engage with them, encourage them, and enjoy each other…

For Teens: How You Can Interview Your Grandparents

Interviewing your grandparent might be a brand-new and fun experience for you both. The conversation, if you develop it thoughtfully, may coax forgotten memories from your grandparent’s past, give you some new insights into their life, and perhaps bring the two of you even closer…

Rosh Hashanah Family Reflections

Prompts for family members to reflect on their family relationships

High Holidays Discovery Kit

This interactive guide is designed especially for grandparents and grandchildren (ages 3–8) to use together — either in person or at a distance. The kit offers ideas and activities to bring the Jewish High Holidays to life through play, imagination, and hands-on discovery. The 14…

A Seat at the Table: Making Memories with Your Teenage Grandchild This Passover

Across time and geography, memory is how we Jews come to understand our past. The Torah elevates memory to mitzvah (commandment) status, for example, Remember the Sabbath day and Do not oppress strangers (remember we were once strangers in Egypt). Our tradition reminds us of our collective responsibility to memory.

Ten-Minute Dayenu Seder

Passover begins on the evening of April 22, 2024.
Once again, this night will truly be different from all other nights. Our updated “Ten-Minute Dayenu Seder” is designed for multi-generational family seders whether held in person, virtually or a combination of both.