Jewish grandparents and grandchildren play, learn togetherPhoto courtesy of JCC Grand Adventures A grandmother and granddaughter show off their artwork.
Today's grandparents are just as likely to cheer at their grandkids' soccer games as they are to make them chicken soup.
Grandparents today are "younger, not necessarily in age, but in perspective," says Bonnie Greenberg, associate regional director of the northern region of the Jewish Community Centers of Chicago.
The JCC created Grand Adventures, a year-round series of field trips, crafts and activities to bring together the generations and encourage Jewish tradition sharing. It also gives children from interfaith families a chance to learn about Judaism in a child-friendly setting, she says.
"We use each program to teach the traditions and values of our religion," says Greenberg, a grandmother of three. "It's an opportunity to see the richness of both sides of the family."
Now in its third year, Grand Adventures offers programs throughout the city and suburbs, as well as a weekend retreat in Wisconsin in June.
Suburban programming begins Nov. 2 with the Thanksgiving-themed "Sunday Funday: Hand in Hand" at the JCC in Flossmoor. Participants will make a ceramic trivet for Thanksgiving and discuss the meaning of the holiday for their family.
"Every religion has its means of giving thanks," says Greenberg. "We'll talk about the value of ‘mitzvot,' doing good deeds, and the importance of being thankful for what you have."
The program runs from 1-3 p.m. and is designed for children ages 5-12. Cost is $10 per child, free for grandparents.
Israel and world peace will be the focus of "Spinning Dreams and Coloring Memories" Nov. 16 at the JCC in Northbrook. Participants will tie-dye T-shirts and create a peace banner, then share stories about Israel. The program, from 10:30 a.m.-noon, is for children 3-10. Cost is $18 each.
"The JCC programs offer a wonderful way for us to learn more about our grandchildren and to spend time with them on a one-on-one basis," says Stanley Giffin of Hazelcrest, a grandfather of four. "We find out more about them, and they find out more about what we're like, too. Sometimes that's hard to do when you're in a family group."
For information on the Grand Adventures program, contact Greenberg at (847) 392-7411. Monica Ginsburg