In my new position as program officer at the Jewish Outreach Institute, I will be serving as the national coordinator for the Grandparents Circle. The Grandparents Circle is an educational and support program for Jewish grandparents whose adult children have intermarried. The program offers grandparents, through courses and a national e-mail listserve, skills and techniques to nurture the Jewish identity of their grandchildren who are being raised in an interfaith family.
As a child of intermarriage myself, I know the important role grandparents can play in fostering a Jewish identity. A lot of my vivid Jewish memories are of doing Jewish activities with my grandparents. I loved our family Shabbat and holiday dinners, getting phone calls before the Yom Kippur fast day, and lighting candles together on Hanukkah. On Rosh Hashanah (New Year), I remember being so proud of being given the all-important task of plating the gefilte fish for our family dinner at my Grandma and Grandpie’s house. I remember helping my grandparents count the money in their tzedekah (charity) box, and having a discussion about where to send the money.
These are just a few of the ways that my grandparents nurtured my Jewish identity. The Grandparents Circle program has many others. I am excited about the opportunity to work with the Grandparents Circle which will be more than 20 circles across North America by summer 2009. If you would like more information about bringing the Grandparents Circle to your community or joining our free listserve, which is open to any grandparents with adult children who have intermarried, I invite you to email me. You can also learn more about the program by reading the following article from the Forward. As the Grandparents Circle program expands into new communities, I look forward to helping grandparents learn innovative ways to share Judaism with their grandchildren and develop fun, vivid, and lasting Jewish memories like the ones that I have.
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