Adjusting to New Family Holiday Customs


Adjusting to New Family Holiday Customs


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Opinion & Society

B'raishees…In the beginning….

By Joan G. Friedman

After college graduation, when our children first left home to begin their careers, they would come home for every holiday. After all, where would you spend the holidays – except with your grandparents and parents?

Years later, it was just my husband and me. And, for holidays, the children joined us. While I always considered myself alright with other occasions, I never expected this to change. Naturally you become a family for all the important times.

For the High Holy Days, we would always arrange for extra seats for the children. They, just like their former classmates, always came home and went to the synagogue. It was our synagogue for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, for weddings, for everything.

Then, after the first grandchild was a few years old, Marcy talked about joining the synagogue near their home. I was so proud. My grandchildren would have a good Jewish upbringing. But look what else has happened.

Now they go to their own synagogue! Well, why wouldn't they? This is where our grandchildren go to Hebrew School and Sunday School. It is their place for Junior Congregation. When we visit, we go there, too.

So now we don't have to worry about purchasing so many extra seats which is a relief. We just don't get the opportunity to show off our little grandchildren and we don't join in as much with all the big families around us.

We have a new routine – a different style of life. There is no excitement and commotion, except when our Bobby – our first born – arrives the night before. He stays with us and goes to the synagogue with us. We have quality time – just with him. We are so proud of his accomplishments and the person he has become. He has one-hundred percent of our attention. It is such a special time, one on one, and I love it so.

After services on the second day of Rosh Hashanah, when he has left us, we return home to our quiet house – but not for long. Our daughter arrives with our grandchildren and we now have special time just with them. Daniel and Leah have no idea what they do for us, but we are smiling again – for the entire afternoon.

No longer do we have the tumult of a busy, crowded home. The routine has changed, but we are still the same family. We have realized that change is good, and we have many blessings to prove it is so!

Joan Greenberger Friedman contributes newspaper articles in the US and Canada, and may be reached at


from the September-October 2007 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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