Thanking Non-Jewish Family Members

A few years ago I was running a group for the non-Jewish spouses in my synagogue – JUST the spouses, no Jews. They were able to complain and rejoice, to question and answer each other. It was a powerful time for all of us. I loved learning from them.  One woman in the group complained repeatedly that she would not be allowed to have an Aliyah at her child’s upcoming b’mitzvah. The other members of the group pointed out to her that she identified as a Christian and was adamantly not Jewish. They talked about boundaries and reasonable expectations. But still she was frustrated and unhappy. Then it occurred to me that she kept listing all the things she had done to support her child in developing a Jewish identity and in supporting her husband at the synagogue.  She was feeling unappreciated! She wanted a moment of recognition. I could do something IMMEDIATELY to recognize her contributions to the congregation and the Jewish community. I make her a certificate of appreciation. I presented it to her at the next meeting. She was thrilled.

Please take a look at this certificate. Does someone you know deserve one? Don’t wait to be asked. Just do it.

I offered this idea to couples wanting to honor the non-Jewish grandparents at a b’mitzvah. PERSONALIZE your certificate. Ask your child what they feel grateful for in regard to their grandparents. Did their Catholic grandparents attend the service when they received their chumash? Did they host sleepovers for the  Jewish tweens club? Did they learn a bit of Hebrew so they could join in with Shabbat blessings? Did they role model kindness, generosity, hard work? What universal values did they teach?

If you are making a certificate for a non-Jewish parent do the same things.

The signers of your certificate can be whomever you like – family members, your rabbi, the chair of the Education committee. It’s up to you.

Remember that it is never too late to say thank you. Make a certificate today!