“We need to be the link for the next generation.”
– Sarah M., Grandparents and Beyond participant
I was surprised when I recently read that Jewish young adults increasingly define themselves as “Jews of no religion.” A study from the PEW Research Center found that 41% of young Jewish adults describe their religion as atheist, agnostic, or nothing in particular – even though many have a Jewish parent or were raised Jewish.
The Jewish Grandparents Network also did a study that found that while many Jewish grandparents aspire to pass on their love of Judaism to the next generation, and they are very involved with their grandchildren, little of this involvement is specifically Jewish.
The new generation of grandparents (and I am one of them) is probably not so different from our parents in that we feel especially fulfilled when we see our grandchildren taking part in the traditions that we shared with our children, and that our parents shared with us. But the world we live in is changing, and it is both our responsibility and our challenge to pass along the meaningful traditions that we hold in a fun and inclusive way. A challenge, but a very gratifying one!
What does this mean to you? If you are like me and want to share the wisdom and joy of our tradition with the next generation, you will want to know more about Chai Mitzvah's Grandparents and Beyond program.
Fun, Inclusive, and Not Just for Grandparents
The Grandparents and Beyond program provides monthly digital sourcebooks with activities and conversations for everyone, regardless of age, relation, or background. The materials, which arrive in your inbox, not only contain Chai Mitzvah’s signature text-based conversations and activities but also, suggestions for social action projects and opportunities to read modern and traditional Jewish texts together. Every sourcebook is designed to enhance discussion in order to spark your Jewish Journey together, which can be valuable to sisterhood members. Activities are designed to be Zoom-friendly, whether it is COVID or geography that separates many grandparents from their grandchildren.
The topics covered throughout the year correspond to Chai Mitzvah’s Jewish Journeys track. So, for Arc of the Fall Holidays, you might find yourself doing the Teshuvah Secret Handshake. Judaism and the Environment includes the fast-paced Recycle Roundup game, and for Israel and the Jewish Spirit, you might make Fruit Fusion fruit salad while exploring the fusion of ideas and cultures that makes Israel a special place.
You can participate in Grandparents and Beyond in the following ways:
1. On your own schedule with your youngsters (ages 4-18+)
2. As part of an adult group: Connect with other grandparents monthly, and then enjoy the activities with your grandchildren on your own schedule
It’s easy to form a group where you get together with friends or other sisterhoods and enjoy discussions and share the joys and challenges of family relationships. Chai Mitzvah will provide everything you need to get your group started. If you have questions, please contact me – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join Chai Mitzvah’s National Grandparents Day Challenge!
Join in our goal of having 1,000 grandparents sign up for Grandparents and Beyond by National Grandparents Day, Sunday, September 12, 2021. To reach this goal, we are offering Grandparents and Beyond at NO CHARGE to all WRJ members!
Sign up at www.chaimitzvah.org
Nina Woldin is the Managing Editor at Chai Mitzvah. She currently runs the Chai Mitzvah Teen program and the Women of Reform Judaism initiative.