Guess Who's Coming To Dinner: Accepting The Religious Grandchild
By RABBI ABRAHAM JACOBOWITZ
As one approaches the autumn
of life and the reality of reaching the
upper middle age sets in, often it is
the offspring of your offspring that
bring thoughts of joy, nachas and
pleasure. Not always though.
Sometimes there are obstacles on
the road of grandparenthood. The
dream of having the ideal
grandchild to be proud of gets
shattered at times from unexpected
"Hi, Grandma, how are you
today?" The voice is of grandson
Bruce who just recently returned
from a trip to the Holy Land.
"Wonderful," answers Grandma
Faye. "Nu, when are you coming
over for a delicious supper?" A
moment of silence. "Well, I am
coming over tomorrow evening to
see you and Grandpa, but supper,
just don't worry about it." "What's
the matter? You got used to falafel
and don't like Grandma's cooking
anymore?" "No, no, that's not it. I
will explain what's going on when I
see you tomorrow."
The next evening, after quite a
difficult introduction, Bruce
managed to reveal his "secret."
After spending six months in Israel,
he had discovered a new world of
Jewish life. Bruce had spent a
number of weekends with religious
families and before he knew it, he
felt very comfortable with the unique
atmosphere of Shabbat, the warmth,
the family, the intriguing discussions
of Jewish history and destiny
around the Shabbat table and
eventually attending a yeshiva in
Jerusalem for the next three
He then made up his mind to
lead a traditional religious Jewish
life style which will include keeping
kosher, Shabbat, wearing a
yarmulka and tzitzit.
How do Grandma and Grandpa
accept Bruce's new lifestyle? Well, it
differs from Bruce to Bruce (or Gail,
Eric or Stephanie) and from one set
of grandparents to another.
In my experience, I have seen
the spectrum of grandparents'
reaction to the now not-so-
uncommon dilemma of the religious
generation- gap. In general, I believe
that it depends a lot on the pre-
conceived notions, conception and
misconception of the individuals
At times it is the fear of "I'm
losing my grandchild," as if from
this point on there is a
disconnection of relationship due to
the difference of life style. At other
times, it is the feeling of distance
and estrangement mixed with a
touch, or a little more than just a
FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, 1991
touch, of resentment. "I'm not a
good enough Jew for him." "I gave
my children and grandchildren a
good Jewish upbringing and now
am I going to have to get re-
educated by my grandchild?" Many
are concerned with the "Bubbie
and Zayde" image which they
sentimentally remember from their
memories of childhood admiration
for their own grandparents.
In most cases I find it to be
primarily a communication problem.
After meeting with parents and
grandparents, allowing for an honest
exchange of feelings and emotions,
the understanding and cooperation
take the place of previous
resentment, bitterness and
disappointment. When grandparents
who rightfully question the behavior
of their grandchildren are given the
opportunity in manner of respect
and concern, problems for the most
part can be ironed out.
But again, there is no magic
solution to all differences of
philosophy and practice, and if
Bruce wants to maintain a good and
healthy relationship with his Bubbie
and Zayde, he must find a way to
relay his convictions with the full
measure of honor, respect and
understanding that a grandchild is
obligated to give the people who
gave life to him via his parents.
At a later date, Bruce did join
his grandparents for a delicious
kosher supper prepared by
Grandma Faye, satisfying Bruce's
standards of kashrut. This
scrumptious supper left a lasting
good taste and memories which
Bruce, Grandma Faye and Grandpa
George will always remember.
Rabbi Jacobowitz is director of
Machon L'Torah, the Jewish
Learning Network of Michigan.
Grandfather's B'Shevat Tree For David
David received a tree on Tu B'Shevat from his Grandfather Max in Israel. In the letter Max wrote that since they
couldn't be together in Israel this year he would plant a tree for David. But, David would have to find out where the
tree was planted! You too can find out where Max planted the Tu B'Shevat tree for his grandson. Follow the clues
given in the letter. It will lead you around the country of Israel and finally to where the tree was planted for David.
Start at the modern airport
where most visitors land,
on an airstrip in Israel
not In the desert sand.
Travel in the direction
Jews face when they pray,
It's the capital of Israel
where you will first stay.
Continue on your travels
to the lowest point around,
don't drink the salty water
where not a living thing Is found.
Pass Herod's famous fortress
on a mountain top it stands,
Jewish Zealots fought and died there
not to fall In Roman hands.
Go south through the desert
to a 3,000 year old port,
the city now has snorkeling
and your favorite beach resort.
Back up through the country
to a town by the sea,
the industrial center of Israel
and the second largest city.
Travel along the shore
going north all the way,
to a city on Mt. Carmel
looks like San Francisco Bay!
The city of Tiberias
Is west of where you've come
This lake of sparkling waters
is where swimming can be fun.
Put all the letters together
unscramble each and every clue,
to find the hidden place
where the tree Is planted for you!
Puzzle Answers on Page L-10