Posts tagged " grandparents "

Memories and Unanswered Questions

July 11th, 2019 Posted by Susan's Musings 32 comments

This has been an unsettling week for me. A number of years ago, my mother’s sister passed away, the last of the five siblings. This month, her children sold my aunt’s house and one of my cousins had the unenviable job of cleaning it out. In the garage she found a few boxes that had been moved there from our grandparents’ apartment over forty years ago when my grandmother died. It became a running joke that each summer my mother, her sister and sisters-in-law would say they were going to sort through things, and as each summer ended, the boxes remained untouched.

Untouched they are no longer. My cousin sent some of the contents to me including postcards exchanged when my grandparents were courting, photos that span decades and a meticulously kept address book.

All these things have thrown me for a loop. I was very close to my grandparents; to this day I can instantaneously recall their phone number. My grandmother died shortly after I graduated college and my grandfather a few years later, so they were an important and loving presence through my growing up years. Now, decades later, I am seeing them in ways I never did before.


Who gets the inheritance?

June 26th, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 11 comments

My Grandparents are doing their estate planning. They have two children, one of whom has two kids and the other four. They are having a hard time deciding if they should split assets evenly between the families or evenly between the individuals.

Evenly between the individuals would seem to favor one side of the family over another, evenly between the two families would favor the individuals of the smaller family and creates a disparity between their children. Is there any biblical guidance to help think through this situation?


Dear Austen,

You may have noticed that we often ask questions as part of our Ask the Rabbi answers. Here is our question for you: Have your grandparents asked for your input? If the answer is no, then we suggest that you read no further. Not much in life is as unwelcome as unsolicited advice.

However, if your grandparents had asked us this question, this is how we would have started our response.

  • Cain and Abel
  • Isaac and Ishmael
  • Jacob and Esau
  • Joseph and his brothers

Sadly, it is extremely common for inheritance issues to split families apart. No matter what the reasoning, in the emotional aftermath of losing parents money issues become inseparable from emotional ones. Dormant rivalries and hurt feelings that go back decades move front and center. So, we firmly advise that assets be split equally among children. The money one leaves is unimportant compared to the relationship between one’s children. (The Biblical mandate for the eldest to receive double is part of an entire structure of laws that pertain to very few people today.) Peace and love among their descendants are of utmost importance to your grandparents.


Graternity Leave

October 12th, 2010 Posted by Susan's Musings 6 comments


Here is an entitlement program I can support: graternity leave (maternity = mother; paternity = father; graternity = grandparent). I’m not thinking of initiating a lawsuit or picketing corporate America, however I would like to raise social awareness of this option.

After a month of Jewish holydays which substantially cut down on available work days, I should be aggressively returning to business. The backlog of unanswered emails and the work needed to get our newest audio CD available for sale are overwhelming. Customer interaction, Musings writing and regular administrative details are all areas which have been sorely neglected.

I’m afraid they will continue to be disregarded, or at the very least they won’t get my undivided attention. Our daughter and son-in-law presented us with an enchanting baby boy early Sunday morning a week ago. I am in Jerusalem filling my daughter’s freezer and helping her adjust to her new reality. In theory, I could find time to do some work as well, but I’d rather spend my time staring at the baby as he yawns, squishes his face and gazes around.  I am hereby invoking graternity leave.

Word crafting runs in our family. My son has pointed out that there is an inclusive word for sisters and brothers – siblings. However, no equivalent exists for nieces and nephews of which, thank God, he has a growing numbers. Hence, his new word – niblings.

Longer musings from me will resume shortly.

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