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L’dor V'dor – From Generation to Generation

by Nanci Levy | May 08, 2017

TR- Final Reception- Bregmans -  4-30-17Jewish values and traditions have been passed along from generation to generation for thousands of years, and this fortunately continues on today. Pictured in the above photo is Phil Bregman (on the right), his wife Dani, daughter Emily, and cousin, Sondra Koven. Phil’s Great Uncle Murf Handmaker started Handmaker in 1963, and Phil is currently the Chair of the Handmaker Board. Their daughter, Emily, was paired up with Brian Litwak (Handmaker resident also pictured above left) as part of a volunteer program at Handmaker. This is a beautiful example of L’dor V’dor.

Tradition and values are passed along in many ways; most commonly from parent to child, grandparent to grandchild, or some relation to another. But sometimes inter-generational connections can be made between people who are not related by blood, giving additional opportunities to share traditions.

Just last week, Handmaker residents and Tucson Hebrew High Teens completed a year-long Better Together inter-generational program called Tracing Roots and Building Trees. This program was funded by a national philanthropy.

Each teen was paired up with a Handmaker resident, someone who might have otherwise been a stranger. Through the monthly themed meetings, the teens and residents learned about one another, shared stories, experiences and formed some endearing and enduring friendships. Midway through the program, every participant brought in a recipe to share with their partner, and told each other the story of why the recipe was meaningful to them. The teens transcribed the recipes and the stories, and along with many photos, all were put together in a recipe book aptly titled, “L’dor v’dor: From Generation to Generation”. At one of our last meetings, the teens and residents made one of the recipes from the book, a complicated 9 Egg Passover Cake. Some teens had never separated an egg before that day and some had never used an egg beater. Lessons were learned, traditions were shared; from generation to generation.

At our final celebration on April 30, the participants each received a copy of the cookbook, and several teens and seniors spoke about their experience with the program. One student shared that “I think that teens and seniors don’t get the opportunity to talk together and have conversations as much as we should…I enjoyed learning about them and their histories. I got far more out of [the program] than I expected.” And one of our residents said that meeting these teens “gives me hope for the future knowing that there are teens…in the world to carry on our traditions.”

There is a Mitzvah concerning elders, “Hiddur p’nai zaken”, which comes from a verse in Leviticus 19:32. The Hebrew can be translated as “You shall rise before the aged and show deference to the old”. But I prefer Danny Siegel’s translation, from the book, “A Heart of Wisdom: Making the Journey from Midlife through the Elder Years”. Siegel translates it as “You shall rise before an elder and allow the beauty, glory and majesty of their faces to emerge.” Based on what I observed as a coordinator of this program, seeing the beautiful smiles on the faces of our residents throughout the year, clearly this program has helped our teens fulfilled the mitzvah of hiddur p’nai zaken.