This Chanukah, pass down more than your latke recipe

By Lauren Klein, Assistant Vice President, Funder Services, The Associated

It is hard to believe that fall is almost over and Chanukah is quickly approaching. As I plan our family holiday party, menu and all, I also want to make the holiday more meaningful for all of us.

When I think back to Chanukah during my childhood, I have fond memories of lighting the clay menorah I made in Hebrew school, and my mother taking out the electric pan to fry the latkes. What I remember the most is the excitement in the house and the joy of being together.

If your family is like mine, we aren’t all together as often as I would like us to be. Everyone’s busy with work, school, sports and other activities. However, we are all going to be together this Chanukah…grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and siblings.

This Chanukah is a perfect opportunity to share family stories. Sharing stories gives every family member a new and important connection to the past. It also enables you to capture stories, connect generations and preserve legacies.

There are a variety of tools available to help you get started. 21/64, a non-profit consulting firm specializing in intergenerational philanthropy, published a book called The Grandparent Legacy Project. It is a resource that helps you communicate your story across generations, including a workbook to help you convey your own legacy. You can order the book from their website.  

Being in the age of technology, there is now an app available to make the process of recording an interview easy and accessible. StoryCorps, an organization whose mission is to record, preserve and share stories, has created a free app that I have already downloaded to my iPhone. The app helps users prepare for interviews, and also allows users, if desired, to share it with other family members, including on social media sites.

I encourage you to use every opportunity to talk to your family members and to hear their stories. You will learn about their childhood, holiday memories, guiding values and approaches to charitable giving. Passing down your latke recipe is important but sharing you your story is even more meaningful.

Looking for additional ideas? Contact Lauren Klein who specializes in helping families design strategies for engaging their children and grandchildren in charitable giving. She can be reached at 410-369-9278 or via email.

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