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.

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 13 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 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…

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…