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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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 15, 2022.
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.

Grandparent Ambassadors Draw in Peers with Personal Touch at JCC Detroit

This Passover, the Jewish Grandparents Network spotlights the Grandparent Ambassadors of the Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit. Terry Kaye, JGN’s Director of Creative Partnerships, spoke with the JCC’s Mikki Frank, Senior Director of Jfamily, and Judy Loebl, Chief Program Officer.

Interview with Dr. Erica Brown about Megillat Esther

Dr. Erica Brown’s most recent book was on Megillat Esther (the Book of Esther that tells the Purim story). JGN Co-founder and CEO David Raphael interviewed Dr. Brown shortly before Purim 2022. Dr Brown is Savti to four grandchildren. Megillat Esther is one of two…

Purim Activities to Do With Your Grandchildren Ages 3–8

Editor’s note: JGN Facebook member Andrea Gardner regularly shares practical and fun activities she does with her grandchildren. In this piece for our Purim newsletter Andrea writes about her planned activities for her grandchildren. My grandchildren are four and six years old and these are…

An Insider’s Guide to Observing Purim

“And Mordechai wrote down these things and sent missives to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of King Achashverosh — near and far — to inform them that every year henceforth, they should make the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month…

Grogger Reflections from a Big Ol’ Blow Hard

Editor’s Note: Purim is a holiday of wonderful joy and mirth. We wear costumes, make noise, and eat yummy hamantaschen. Among the traditions for the holiday are Purim Spiels, comical performances held in synagogues, community centers, and education programs. Please consider the musings below a…

Tu Bishvat and Martin Luther King Jr. Day

This year, Tu BiSh’vat and Martin Luther King Jr. Day fall on the same day — January 17, 2022. The convergence of these two seemingly unrelated holidays gives us an opportunity to explore two important issues of our time: climate justice and social justice. 

Grandparents’ Unconditional Love…and Then Some

Grandparents’ unconditional love extends to our grandchildren with developmental and learning differences. We strive to be there when they struggle with emotional challenges. Unconditional love is the magic bridge that spans the generations.

JGN Facebook Group Recommends Best Hanukkah Books for Kids

In mid-November 2021 a member of the Jewish Grandparents Network Facebook Group asked this question in the group and got the MOST helpful responses. My 7-year-old grandson wants to share a Hanukkah book with his public school class. The group is very diverse (think Palestinian,…

Together, Let’s Save Precious Resources

As grandparents, we think about the world we are leaving our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We face the challenges of climate change and the dwindling of precious natural resources. How can we impart to our grandchildren a commitment to repairing the world even as we spin the dreidel, light the menorah, and perhaps exchange modest gifts?

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…

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…

You are Descended from Leaders

You are descended from leaders, whose faith propelled them to “do the right thing” and raise up others, as they themselves rose to success. Your great-great-great-grandparents brought others from the jaws of the Czarist army and the winds of war to safety in the United States.

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…

Thanksgiving 2021: Finding Gratitude

How to have a meaningful and fun Thanksgiving celebration!   Thanksgiving will be here in a few weeks. This is the gratitude holiday. In times of challenge especially, reflecting on the things that ground us: our essential relationships, stories, values, and purpose fills us with…

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, and schmooze—that is when we help build their character.

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…

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…

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

Food and fun, kitchens, and dining room tables. When we grandparents cook with our children and grandchildren, we not only share our favorite foods. We share our values, our traditions, our stories, and most importantly, our love.

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 your choice.