L’dor vador: Our traditions keep us close


It’s not easy being far from family, especially during different, and sometimes difficult, life-cycle changes.

More people than ever seem to be experiencing the trials and tribulations of being far from loved ones during crises such as illness, age-related changes and emergencies.

Years ago, people were born, raised and lived close to their extended families. As transportation became easier, families scattered. Now, it’s not unusual to grow up on the East Coast, go to college in the Midwest and end up in California. The joys of modern living?

Just because it’s more common, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy to live without the support of family.

My grandmother’s family all lived in close proximity to one another. Three sisters, two brothers and their parents. As the younger generation married, most stayed nearby, though they began to scatter as work dictated.

The next generation scattered even farther.

My generation lives far from family members, and we barely know our cousins. It’s too bad. My grandmother’s generation were all close growing up. They knew someone was always nearby to help when needed, and having someone who understands you, like only a family member can, really helps carry one through hard times.

My siblings and I have experienced the importance of close family connections recently, as we have had the challenge of helping our parents navigate a health problem and a life crisis. Always fiercely independent, our mother has been suffering with some hip issues and needed help, and our father faced moving his business at the last minute.

None of us lives nearby and all three of us have challenging and busy careers. Nevertheless, we have banded together to divide and conquer (with the help and support of our partners). After all, this is what our parents would    and did – do for us. Anything less would be turning our backs on the commandment to “Honor your father and mother.”

We love our parents and want to honor them by helping to make their lives easier as they age. We know that even a small amount of assistance will greatly make weathering this storm a lot easier for them both.

So, rearranging schedules and spending a few days at a time either helping with Mom’s health or Dad’s business is the least we can do. And we know our children will do the same thing for us when the time comes.

We hope the move will be finished by Passover and the health issue will also be in the rearview mirror.

Our tradition teaches l’dor vador, from generation to generation. This is the kind of lesson that families pass from one generation to the next. I wouldn’t have it any other way. We saw our parents do the same for their parents, and now our children see us doing this. Important lessons for a meaningful and rich life.


Our next issue will come out on May 10, because of when Passover falls this year. Remember that May is our annual Pet Issue, and we want to feature the best photos of your pets. So please send those photos, with your name, town/city of residence and your pet’s name, to Editor@jewishallianceri.org. The deadline is May 1.

Chag Pesach Sameach!

Fran Ostendorf,