This spring, Parenting Through a Jewish Lens (PTJL) launched its first-ever “Grandparenting Through a Jewish Lens” group. This course, taught by Rabbi Rachel Schoenfeld, is meeting on four Wednesday afternoons. The eight grandparents are members of Shir Hadash, a Reconstructionist Havurah in Newton Centre. I was delighted to sit in for the first session, held in a comfortable Newton living room, and hear about these grandparents’ stories and what motivated them to take the class.
In the first session we talked about our Jewish, secular and “acquired” names, our own grandparents and our stories. As the first session was held right before Passover, we spoke about seder traditions and inter-generational dialogue and stories as part of our Passover experience. The second session focused on their grandchildren’s names, the stories we pass on and more.
In the third session, they explored the “Joys and Oys” of grandparenting, learning from each other’s experience and problem-solving together. The last session will be held shortly before Shavuot—the celebration of the giving of Torah—and participants will look at Jewish texts about grandparenting and celebrate their accomplishments as grandparents.
Arthur Walitt, a participant in the class, shared: “I have had a lot of fun sharing experiences and strategies about being a Jewish grandparent. We do have a good group and the fact that we’ve all known each other for decades makes the intimacy of sharing all the more meaningful. I thank the rabbi and the Jewish organizations that sponsored this for making this happen.”
We look forward to being able to offer more “Grandparenting Through a Jewish Lens” classes in the future!
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