Many years ago, I instituted a Grandparents League at a modern orthodox yeshiva. Within days, I discovered my insensitive error: I had not considered the sad reality that fact some students didn’t have living grandparents. I apologized and moved forward with the “Intergenerational Special Person Group.”
Fortunately, I was savvy enough to realize that if the group was going to succeed I needed ‘buy-in’ from grandparents and other relatives. I formed an Intergenerational Group to act as an advisory committee. They shared that while they would fly cross-country for a Chanukah play or graduation, they really wanted to experience the nitty-gritty! What was going on the classroom?
Take away? Larger intergenerational events such as Sunday breakfasts or melave malkes included curriculum fairs or individual classroom activities. We budgeted the extra time to invite parents and extended families to be photographed with the principal, teacher, and child at siddur and chumash plays – and presented mi’ dor l’dorcertificates to these special guests. Eventually, they were happy to not only pay “Intergenerational League” dues but also to make larger contributions. Moreover, many volunteered their time and expertise – becoming our true partners.
The Learning Experience
During the past few months, I was thrilled to celebrate a chagigat chumashat Yeshiva Har Torah and an intergenerational day and chagigat siddurat Farber Hebrew Academy. While those were pure nachat, I felt quite chagrined to discover that my stellar adolescent broad jumping abilities had declined pathetically when second grader Benny measured my results at the Har Torah Math Fair.
As Pesach approaches and generations of families gather together, we all feel the mandate to teach our children experientially: B’chol dor vador chayav adam liharot et atzmo, k’ilu hu b’atzmo yatza ata, mishibud Mitzrayim…”
“In every generation, an individual must demonstrate for himself as if he himself is leaving Egyptian servitude right now.”
How do you share the learning experience with your students’ extended families?
Please use this link to share your ideas.
For a host of Pesach resources, please visit:
Lookstein Pesach Resources
Have questions? Please feel free to send me an email or call me at 516.569.8070 to learn more about intergenerational marketing, I’m also happy to discuss special projects as well as annual retainers.
Chag kasher v’sameach!