ParentingL’dor V’dor: Starting the Grandparenting Journey

Teaching Grandparenting Through a Jewish Lens (GTJL) at Temple Aliyah, Needham was a wonderful experience. Previously, I taught classes for adults with grandchildren of many ages.  However, most grandparents in this class had grandchildren aged newborn-three.  What makes the 0 to 3 grandparenting experience so interesting is that it’s mostly aspirational, since they are just beginning their grandparenting journeys.

We spent much of our conversations discussing the texts in GTPL’s rich sourcebook. We talked at length about our dreams for grandparenting, using the materials to form ideas we would one day put into practice as our grandchildren grew. We also shared grandparenting experiences of the week, and related them to texts we had learned.

I often walked out of class marveling at the devotion these grandparents had, not only to their grandchildren but also to Jewish traditions. In this class in particular, the idea of l’dor v’dor, from generation to generation, really resonated. We spent the last class speaking about ethical wills, a will which passes on values rather than possessions. I loved hearing which aspects of Judaism these grandparents felt would be beneficial to their grandchildren, and was impressed at the variety in responses.

The four classes of GTJL are merely a beginning. The challenge for each individual is to use the resources in the syllabus again and again as they encounter new stages in their grandchild’s development, as well as their own. There is also a challenge for the Jewish community to figure out how to engage the energy and resources of this passionate and engaged “grandparenting” demographic.

Parenting From Generation to Generation: Becoming the Grandparents We Hope To Be

Many Jews of my generation grew up without grandparents: perhaps they perished i...