It’s a story that you tell in three paragraphs at most. It captures a specific event, person or life
experience that you want to share with your grandchildren and family. You want to share it
because it did one or more of the following:
As grandparents, we hold at least 100 years of family stories in our heads. We learned about
WWI and the Spanish Flu Epidemic directly from our parents or grandparents. Some of us lived
through the depression years or WWII, and all of us know someone in our family who did. Many
grew up as the children of holocaust survivors or never had grandparents because they perished
in the Shoah. We experienced the birth of Israel, the first manned space flight, and the cold war
and lived through the tumultuous sixties with non-violent and violent protest and a series of
assassinations that rocked our confidence in the notion of shared bedrock national values. Our
stories span a century or more of human experience and they shape who we are and who we
aspire to be.
Living during a world-wide pandemic is frightening and challenging. Separated from
loved ones who may not be continents apart but sometimes a few blocks away feels unnatural
and cruel. The fear that we may never again see those we most cherish is no longer existential.
This crisis calls upon us to confront our fragility and mortality at the same time that we feel
compelled do all that we can to preserve life and move forward. Judaism insists that we embrace
this tension in our texts and stories and in so many of our rituals. God willing, and with the help
of our fellow citizens, we will make all of the right choices in order to save as many lives as
Meanwhile, let’s use some of this time to think about our family stories and begin to tell them.
They are among the greatest gifts we can give to our families.
Let the pop-up stories begin!