Where the children go...the grandparents follow!

In the past year, Congregation Beth El–Keser Israel [BEKI] has enjoyed a surge of new members, bringing the congregation to more than 300 membership units for the first time since the 1960s. Many of these newcomers are young families with children, but there’s another growing demographic: the grandparents. Before moving from Long Island, “we spent a lot of time on the ferry or stuck in traffic on I-95 to see our children,” Tema Leviter explains. So, Tema and her husband Coleman moved north, close to children and grandchildren. “We’re so happy we made the move. We love being part of our kids’ lives,” Alisa Levine says. “It’s really worth it. It’s a big step, but we are so glad. Join a good synagogue because that’s what keeps you connected.” She and her husband, Glenn Levine, Glenn, who works remotely, notes, “I wanted to be able to help the kids before they need to help us.” Tema loves it here. “This area is incredible. There’s lot of opportunities to do things at BEKI as well as volunteer work in the larger community,” she notes. She’s met new people, though she acknowledged that cultivating meaningful relationships is more difficult when you’re older. Her husband says he is meeting people through golf and professional associations. Being part of the grandchildren’s lives as they grow up is important, Tema says. “It’s such a wonderful thing to be nearby. Your kids need you when they are raising kids.” But remember to set boundaries, she advises, “Open lines of communication are important.” Says Alisa: “It’s great to be creating this history with our kids. To be part of a multigenerational experience at BEKI is so special. To sit in shul and know our grandson will come find us is lovely.” “Synagogues are one of few multigenerational spaces in the world today,” says BEKI’s Rabbi Eric Woodward, whose own parents recently relocated from the Philadelphia area. “Children learn from the parents and grandparents, and vice versa. But more than that, other people’s children benefit from the multigenerational nature of our synagogue. It’s nice that we have an upsurge in membership, but it’s even better that this brings with it an upsurge in wisdom and care.”

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