JOI’s study A Flame Still Burns found that Jewish grandparents can play a significant role in imparting a sense of Jewish identity to grandchildren raised in an interfaith home. This week, the Philadelphia Exponent broached the topic in Ryan Teitman’s article entitled, “At Pesach, the Roles Played by Families.” JOI’s own Rabbi Kerry Olitzky is quoted several times, and the article highlights the book he recently co-authored with JOI’s Associate Executive Director Paul Golin, Twenty Things for Grandparents of Interfaith Grandchildren to Do (And Not Do) to Nurture Jewish Identity in Their Grandchildren.
As Rabbi Olitzky said in the article, “We know that grandparents have the potential to be significantly impactful on the religious identity of grandchildren.” It’s encouraging to see that others are beginning to pick up on this idea and discuss it as well. Grandparents can help build up the “stockpile of Jewish memories” necessary to foster and perpetuate a Jewish identity. Their wealth of experiences and connection to the past allow them to impart important lessons in terms of cultural history and knowledge to children, but in a comfortable setting far removed from a classroom environment.