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Beverly Kent Goldenberg
Life Member, Hadassah Greater Detroit

In Honor of America’s National Grandparents’ Day – September 10, 2023

Jennie Levin Kent with grandsons Etai Goldenberg, Ariel Edward Gluckson, Oren Goldenberg on the occasion of Etai’s Bar Mitzvah January 1994. Photo courtesy of Murray Goldenberg.
Jennie Levin Kent with grandsons Etai Goldenberg, Ariel Edward Gluckson, Oren Goldenberg on the occasion of Etai’s Bar Mitzvah January 1994. Photo courtesy of Murray Goldenberg.

America’s National Grandparents’ Day is celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day. This year, the date falls on September 10, 2023

MOTHER
Her eyes sparkle,
a wide grin crosses her lips.
Her arms drape around her
three handsome grandsons.

Her blonde hair
is well-coiffured.
The royal blue crepe dress
complements her twinkling blue eyes.

Her depth of love
for these young men
is palpable.

I smile,
staring
at the four of them together:
The Joy of Grandparenthood.

Taken aback,
I realize,
one day,
I, too,
will be like her:
A picture
hanging on the wall.

HISTORY OF GRANDPARENTS DAY

It took quite a bit of lobbying to bring about a national holiday to celebrate grandparenthood.

In 1969, nine-year-old Russell Capper sent President Nixon a letter suggesting that a day should be set aside in order to celebrate grandparents. On June 12, 1969, he received a letter back from Rose Mary Woods — Personal Secretary to the President — reading, according to Wikipedia:

“Dear Russell:
Thank you for your letter to President Nixon. Your suggestion regarding a Grandparent’s Day is appreciated, but the President ordinarily issues proclamations designating periods for special observance only when a Congressional resolution authorizes him to do so. With best wishes,

Sincerely,
Rose Mary Woods,
Personal Secretary to the President”

In 1973, Senator Jennings Randolph, a Democrat from West Virginia, introduced a resolution to make Grandparents’ Day a national holiday. When the resolution died in committee, Marian McQuade, a West Virginian advocate for senior citizens, who had organized West Virginia’s state Grandparents’ Day celebration, organized supporters. She and her supporters contacted governors, senators, and congressmen in all fifty states urging each state to proclaim their own Grandparents’ Day.

Within three years, she had received proclamations from forty-three states, which she forwarded to Senator Jennings. In 1977, Senator Jennings, with the help of other US senators, introduced a joint resolution to the senate requesting the president to “issue annually a proclamation designating the first Sunday of September after Labor Day of each year as ‘National Grandparents’ Day’.”

Congress passed the legislation, proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents’ Day.

On Sunday, September 10, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation designating the first national Grandparents’ Day. The holiday was finally celebrated the following year.

Marian McQuade was designated and honored as the founder of Grandparents’ Day. In 1989, on the 10th anniversary of Grandparents’ Day, the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative envelope bearing her likeness.

Grandparents Day is celebrated in many countries. However, it occurs on various days of the year (Wikipedia).

Israel celebrates Yom HaMishpachah (Hebrew: יום המשפחה) a day to honor the family unit, as a whole. In the 1990s, the last day of Shevat (usually falling in February) was declared Family Day in Israel, in memory of Henrietta Szold, American-born founder of Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, who is known as “The Mother of Israel.”

About the Author
Beverly Kent Goldenberg has been a Life Member of Hadassah since 1968. She was born and raised in Detroit and is a member of the Eleanor Roosevelt Chapter, Hadassah Greater Detroit. A social worker by profession, she earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Michigan. Beverly worked at Jewish Family Service and Hillel Day School of Metro Detroit for over 30 years, creating social skills programs for children that were modeled state-wide. Her English teachers always thought that she would become a journalist. Better late than never, she has been writing and publishing memoir pieces the past several years. Beverly and her Israeli husband, Michael, raised their two sons, Etai, a urologist, and Oren, a filmmaker, in Huntington Woods, Michigan, where they still reside today. Beverly is Savta to four grandchildren, Leo, Ami, Estee and Elie, and a grand-dog, Sparrow.
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