We at JOI are thrilled to announce the launch of our newest direct service program, the Grandparents Circle, with the support of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles/Valley Alliance and the generosity of Bettina Kurowski and Dennis Rose. The new program, which launched on January 8th in Los Angeles and will begin replication in Atlanta on January 29th, is designed to help Jewish grandparents present Judaism to their grandchildren in intermarried households. We were also excited to see the Grandparents Circle recognized in the JTA by Sue Fishkoff, in an article titled “Intermarriage: Helping Grandparents.”
As explained in the article, Grandparents Circle will consist of a five week course where the members can “share their concerns and learn specific skills for passing on Jewish history and tradition without forcing it on the children.” Our own Liz Marcovitz, the program’s national coordinator, gave further explanation:
“They want to pass on their Jewish identity and background, they want to share their history and who they are with their grandchildren, but it has to be done in a way that’s interesting to the grandchildren.”
The course was inspired by the book “Twenty Things for Grandparents of Interfaith Grandchildren to Do,” by JOI’s Rabbi Kerry Olitzky and Paul Golin. The book offers many recommendations on how grandparents can nurture the Jewish identity of their grandchildren, first and foremost by being the best Jew you can be. According to Golin, “If the grandparents are just who they are and have contact with the grandkids, they’ll have that influence.”
To learn more about the program or find out how to start a program in your area, please contact Liz Marcovitz. We are confident that the Grandparents Circle will encourage and increase the participation of families in Jewish life, and we hope that as more grandparents join the Circle and pass along the Jewish traditions, they will find an even greater depth of meaning and connection to Judaism.