By: Edina Segal
Director, Israel and Overseas Center
There is an undeniable bond that grandparents have with their grandchildren. We see the Bible’s first acknowledgment of this special relationship in this week’s Torah portion when Jacob is closing in on the end of his life. At this moment, Joseph feels an urgency to bring his two sons, Ephraim and Menashe, Jacob’s two grandsons, to their grandfather to share this moment with their grandfather. Even though Jacob barely knows these two grandsons, as they had been living in Egypt with Joseph, he nevertheless expresses his strong connection to them. Jacob tells Joseph, “Your two sons, who were born to you in the land of Egypt, shall be mine. Ephraim and Menashe shall be mine no less than Reuben and Shimon (his two sons). What an amazing statement! Jacob, who is encountering his grandchildren for the first time, wants them to know that they are like sons to him.
I’ve been thinking more about the role grandparents play in passing on our heritage to the next generations after co-shepherding JEWISHcolorado‘s new G2 program with the fabulous Cindy Coons, Director of Family Engagement and Jewish Explorers at JEWISHcolorado. G2 is an intergenerational program that offers grandparents and pre-Bnei Mitzvah grandchildren a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share in a year-long experience of study and travel together. Throughout the year, they explore Jewish legacies and values, alongside our partners in Ramat HaNegev. This program recognizes and builds on the important role grandparents play in preserving our traditions and culture. This can be actualized through food, language, visits, and above all teachings about our traditions and the importance of Israel in our Jewish identity.
Cindy and I had the privilege of working with five grandparents and grandchildren from four Colorado Jewish families for the past year, through monthly meetings where we explored Jewish identity, customs and traditions, and family narratives and legacies through a rich curriculum with Israel education at the forefront. G2 culminated last week with an in-depth journey to Israel led by Cindy Coons, where grandparents and grandchildren from our partnership region, Ramat HaNegev, and the G2 cohort, shared in group bonding activities and travel. The families unanimously felt moved and changed in ways that exceeded their expectations. This shared journey was a transformative experience for all – a beautiful example of L’dor V’dor, passing on values from generation to generation.
Shabbat Shalom, Colorado.
Please email Edina Segal at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments or questions.