By Lisa Bodziner
Director of Educational Engagement
Macks Center for Jewish Education
Shalom to all!
We hope that each and every one of you all had a wonderful spring break and lovely holiday season filled with family, food and celebration. Passover is a special time. In most homes, families sit around a beautifully decorated table, filled with place settings for family members and lots of parsley, salt water and wine are passed around the table before the meal even begins. Colorful plagues and homemade Afikomen pouches add to the intergenerational components of the Passover meal.
On Passover, and unique to Passover, we are commanded to “tell the story.” We, as a Jewish people are commanded to tell the story to the next generation, and explain, through interactive games, questions and the use of the Haggadah, our story from slavery to freedom, as a Jewish people.
In a sense, the youth are the stars of the evening. The youth recite the four questions, the youth look for the Afikomen, the youth are obligated, to listen and hear. But I want to ask, what about the generations telling the story? What about the generations that encourage our youth to learn our heritage and lineage as the Jewish people
Here at the Macks Center for Jewish Education, and specifically through our PJ Library programming, we have come across many intergenerational families that join our programs. On Martin Luther King Day, we hosted an intergenerational program at the Myerberg, in partnership with Jewish Volunteer Connection (JVC). Nearly 100 participants attended. A large handful of our participants were grandparents, coming to support their children and grandchildren in Jewish community, learning and involvement.
This community of grandparents is growing more and more in the Baltimore region. Recently, The Associated published a fascinating issue with articles about generations moving back to Baltimore to support their children and be there for their grandchildren — taking care, nurturing and supporting the families. In this day and age, we know all too well that the nuclear family usually consists of two working parents. We have been amazed to see the increasing number of grandparents supporting and actively seeking Jewish programming for their grandchildren. What a blessing to have this generation, telling our stories, sharing the passion for Jewish values and seeking Jewish community for their grandchildren.
In our upcoming spring and summer calendar, please be sure to visit the Macks Center for Jewish Education with your children and/or grandchildren. Read some books together, take some home and get ready for a wonderful fall season with more and more intergenerational programming to come.
Have a beautiful spring!