By: Cindy Coons
Director of Family Engagement & Jewish Explorers
L’dor VaDor, from generation to generation, the Jewish concept of ensuring the continuity of Jewish values, culture, traditions, and history across generations. Over the past year, I had the privilege of launching JEWISHcolorado’s G2 Journey along with Edina Segal, Director of JEWISHcolorado’s Israel and Overseas Center. This year-long program, in collaboration with our partner region Ramat HaNegev, has created an incredible intergenerational opportunity for grandparents and grandchildren to embrace and honor L’dor VaDor in the most authentic way. Over the course of the year, our monthly gatherings focused on strengthening the special bonds between grandparents and grandchildren through exploring family narratives, legacies, and connections to Judaism, Jewish identity, and Israel. Our year of learning culminated in a 10-day trip to Israel that I had the honor of leading this past December. The highlight of this experience for me was witnessing grandparents and grandchildren so beautifully weave together their past, present, and future, each contributing to this ongoing legacy.
From the moment we stood on the Haas Promenade overlooking Jerusalem, in the midst of a Shehecheyanu moment, a moment of blessing and gratitude, we knew that our journey together would be transformative. There were so many Shehecheyanu moments during our time together from visiting religious and historical sites, praying at the Kotel, spending time with our Ramat HaNegev friends, volunteering, floating in the Dead Sea, sand boarding and hiking, experiencing the tastes, sights, and sounds of Israel, and everything in between. Every moment together was a blessing. We began our journey to Israel as a community of friends and returned to Colorado as an extended family.
When we returned home at the beginning of January, Parshat Vayechi was the Torah portion read that week. Each week, there are beautiful parallels and connections between the message of the Torah portion and our daily lives, and this week was no exception. This portion is the final parsha in the book of Genesis. Joseph hears that his father Jacob, also referred to as Israel, is dying. Joseph brings his sons Menashe and Ephraim to see their grandfather, Jacob. When they arrive, Jacob blesses his grandsons with the same blessing that parents traditionally share to this day with their children on Shabbat. Although there are many instances of parents blessing children in the Torah, this is the only time that a grandparent blesses their grandchildren. As I led this trip to Israel and shared in this special journey with these extraordinary grandparents and grandchildren, I witnessed both grandparents blessing grandchildren and grandchildren blessing grandparents. This beautiful expression of love, family, tradition, and legacy between these generations further enriched and blessed each family’s individual and our group’s shared L’dor VaDor journey.
Our year of learning together inspired us to ask meaningful questions, and our curiosity led us to fully experience every moment together in Israel. This once in a lifetime shared journey has enriched our personal and collective connections to the true meaning of L’dor VaDor, and has deepened our love of Judaism, and Israel. The community we built and the transformative experience we shared in our inaugural G2 year is a blessing that will echo through generations.