During an Elderhostel in Arizona I talked with a Jewish grandmother who told me of her experience when her daughter married the son of a Baptist minister.
At first I was devastated. I was sure my grandchildren would know nothing of their Jewish heritage. But it was more important to me to keep the communication lines open with our daughter.
The funny thing was, the experience made me far more conscious, far more aware of my Jewish traditions – of my Jewish faith. My husband and I had not been particularly observant. We didn’t eat pork, but that was about the only dietary rule we kept. We went to synagogue very occasionally.
But when my daughter married a Christian it became more important to me. At first my daughter thought I was doing this as a sneaky way of converting her husband. But that wasn’t it. The good thing was that we kept talking about it until we really understood each other.
Now I have a wonderful grandchild who has a nice Jewish nose like my husband. I can be my real self, and I am delighting in my discovery of my rich heritage.
I tell my grandson Bible stories. We light Shabbat candles. My grandson and his parents go to synagogue with me on special days. I give Hanukkah gifts rather than Christmas presents.
~ Ralph Milton, The Spirituality of Grandparenting