Nov 23, 2011

Great Gifts from Grandparents

Whether Grandma, Babba, Bubbe, Savta, Oma, Saba, Grandpa, Zeidy, Zayde, or Opa, as the line from the book A Grandma Like Yours reminds, whether you call them by their English, Yiddish, or Hebrew names, [grandparents] can be counted on to make each Jewish holiday a special occasion for their grandchildren.” 

One of the ways to make a holiday special is to make a memory together. Sharing a story is a fun way to do that, even if you are far away. You can read a story by telephone or Skype, or you can record yourself reading a book and send the recording and the book—a great help for beginning readers!

Great Gifts to Give this Hanukkah:

A whimsical collection of animal grandparents illustrate the characteristics of Jewish grandparents. Read about grandmas, bubbes and savtas from the front of the book, then flip it over to read about grandpas, zaydes and sabas from the other side.

Why can’t you be Jewish like me? Why can’t I be Christian like you? a young Jewish girl asks her non-Jewish grandfather.
In answer, her grandfather tells her the biblical story of Jethro, Moses’ non-Jewish father-in-law, whose relationship with his grandson Gershom is a model of love and respect.
With warm watercolor artwork and a gentle storyline, Papa Jethro sensitively looks at the issue of interfaith families and reminds us that the Bible has timely lessons for every generation.
Feivel the woodcarver leaves his family in the Old Country and comes to America to make a new life. As an apprentice to a carousel maker, he lovingly crafts a set of carousel horses in the spirit of his wife and children, dreaming of the day when they will be reunited in America. Based on the true story of Jewish immigrant woodcarvers whose carousel horses have delighted generations of children.
An elderly black grandmother passes on the story of the family’s Jewish origins to her young granddaughter, Carol Olivia. As family members flee the Spanish Inquisition, are kidnapped by pirates and eventually sail to America, one daughter in each generation is given the name Olivia, from the Hebrew Shulamit meaning “peace,” to honor the Jewish part of their ancestry.
In writing the Sammy Spider books, Rouss said she intends for Jewish children to “see the beauty of the Jewish holidays and appreciate our celebrations.” According to Rouss, Jewish people have to “look to ourselves and see what we have in our religion that we can cherish—our holidays.” Sammy Spider is “an outsider that wants to be a part of our holidays. Sammy sees the beauty of it.”

Rouss said Jewish people are “very lucky” because we have a yearly cycle of celebrations that serve to reaffirm our Jewishness almost every month. In writing books for Jewish children, she hopes to instill them with a sense of excitement about being Jewish. Wouldn't you love to share this with your grandchild?

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