I believe there is a unique bond between grandparents and grandchildren. We look out for each other. We have each other’s backs.
Last fall, 27-year-old Ohad Ben-Yaakov was injured in an accident at his part-time job, and he died after two weeks in a coma. Ben-Yaakov wasn’t married, nor was he in a relationship. No woman was pregnant with his child.
Growing up, I called my grandmother Grandma.
We were Jewish, but also American. There was never any question but that my grandma would be Grandma. Even if she was born in the Old Country and, like all my friends and all their grandparents, spoke with a Yiddish accent. I used to think, in fact, that in order to be a grandparent you had to have been born in the Old Country and speak with a Yiddish accent.
" . . . As grandparents, we go through a range of feelings. Some of these are triggered by the child's behavior and how the parents react to it. Grandparents are frightened and upset that their grandchild is experiencing these problems . . . "
For Daniel and Lauren, becoming authors has also meant serving as peer educators.
"I told my friends that I wrote a book about the Holocaust, and at least three of them didn't know what it was," said Daniel. Lauren had a similar experience.
On Sunday, April 17, hundreds of Holocaust survivors from around the world, along with their children and grandchildren, gathered on the site of the German concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen to observe the 60th anniversary of the camp’s liberation.
I recently returned from Florida, where I spent the Kwanzaa break (I've coined a new name for the winter break that I hope will sweep the nation) with my parents. Actually, they used to be my parents. Now they're my son's grandparents. I was once my mother's middle child, her youngest son, one of three apple-cheeked children around which her world revolved. Now I'm just the thing that brings the grandchild during the Kwanzaa break (I think the name is catching on).
What is our role in the interfaith family unit? We are not just the grandparents; we are the Jewish grandparents. Their other grandparents are Christian, Muslim, Hindu or of another faith. Even when grandchildren are not raised within any particular faith, this is how we will be distinguished. Why? Because interfaith children are part of two-family cultures; therefore identifying us as such, is necessary.
Since they were Orthodox and didn't use appliances on the Sabbath, Oma had an array of simple but wonderful dishes she prepared in advance to be eaten cold. In the Miami heat, her Cucumber Dill Salad was one of my favorites.
A few months ago I flew from Long Beach to Brooklyn. It was a long, sad and lonely trip. A few days earlier, my mother had turned 82 years old and was looking forward to a special birthday, when tragedy struck. A fire broke out in her home. Quickly, her life was taken by fire and smoke. No goodbyes or time to prepare for closure, just a cruel death.
My father survived the fire but lives daily with his memories. He now spends his time living a day or a week with different children and grandchildren. He recently came to California to join our family for the holidays. Even though the children and grandchildren were here something big was missing. Yes, our dear mother, the grandmother, was missed.
The index-card box is one of the most important items in your home and is referred to each time an affair is coming up -- as well as when you need a gift for that person's party.
First it was then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Next it was Gen. Wesley Clark, the supreme allied commander of NATO during the war in Kosovo. Now it's Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry whose Jewish roots are being reported.
Kerry? The Massachusetts senator, the quintessential WASP-y looking politician with an Irish-sounding name?
Two of Kerry's grandparents were Jewish, it turns out.
They don't make grandparents like they used to.