Grand­par­en­t’s Mem­o­ry Book for Jew­ish Families

Mar­sha Rehns, ed.
  • Review
By – March 26, 2012

This slim work­book is designed to open a dia­logue between grand­par­ent and grand­child about what life was like when the grand­par­ent was grow­ing up. Many of these mem­o­ry books have been pub­lished in recent years, but this one seeks to hone in on those expe­ri­ences that are typ­i­cal in a mod­ern Jew­ish home. Because this book fol­lows a fill-inthe-blank for­mat, it does not eas­i­ly lend itself to library use, but it asks some inter­est­ing ques­tions such as Dur­ing times of per­son­al dif­fi­cul­ty, I turn to_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​” and Things that we had then that we don’t have now ___________”. Such open-end­ed ques­tions will spark good con­ver­sa­tions and help adults pass along their mem­o­ries, wis­dom, and obser­va­tions about the world. Chil­dren will have a bet­ter under­stand­ing of their imme­di­ate past and their per­son­al his­to­ry. A fam­i­ly tree is includ­ed in the mid­dle of the book. Quotes from Jew­ish sources in Eng­lish and Hebrew or Yid­dish pep­per the pages and give addi­tion­al fuel for discussion. 

There are a very few pages for pho­tographs and recipes, but, in the tra­di­tion of the liv­ing will,” the book ends with a sec­tion for grand­par­ents to write the thoughts they would like to leave for their grand­chil­dren. They are asked to write what they want their grand­chil­dren to remem­ber most about them and what words of advice they want to share as well as the hopes and dreams they have for future gen­er­a­tions. This book takes a lot of work. The authors admon­ish the read­er that this should not be filled out in one sit­ting and might be best done as a fam­i­ly exer­cise, spark­ing dis­cus­sion about old mem­o­ries and fos­ter­ing new ones. Adult, rec­om­mend­ed for home libraries.

Susan Dubin was the first librar­i­an hon­ored with a Milken Fam­i­ly Foun­da­tion Jew­ish Edu­ca­tor Award. She is the owner/​director of Off-the-Shelf Library Ser­vices and library instruc­tion­al con­sul­tant at Val­ley Beth Shalom Day School in Enci­no, CA.

Discussion Questions