When Bubbe, Pop-Pop, Gigi or Saba Move to Town
Families and individuals who move to Atlanta tell us they’re asked this question all the time: “When are your parents moving here?” The migration of parents and grandparents to Atlanta is more than a “thing,” it’s an actual trend. In 2016, 18% of respondents under age 65 who took Federation’s #IamJewishATL community study said they expect to see their aging parents and/or relatives relocate to the Atlanta area over the next few years. Federation’s community planning and impact team is looking closely at the trend as they consider how to meet the needs of older adults — one of the fastest growing populations in metro Atlanta.
We checked in with several multi-generational families where parents and in-laws have moved to be closer to family. A 2009 study notes that Jewish boomer grandparents — currently the largest demographic in the American Jewish community — are at the cutting edge of responding to changes in Jewish family life. Read on to see how Atlanta Jewish grandparents are adapting to their new lives here.
Mindy Binderman: My mom, Sandy Koplon, was widowed in 1981 and never remarried. She raised us in Birmingham, AL where we were surrounded by cousins and friends and a loving community. After we graduated high school, each of my siblings and I went away to college and never moved back to Birmingham. My sister now lives in New York and my brother is in Tennessee. My mom’s life was in Birmingham, but after she retired, she knew that she needed to begin thinking about being near one of her children. She chose Atlanta for a variety of reasons including proximity to old friends, affordability, and the Jewish community. She moved here in 2017 right before her 75th birthday.
My mom lives just a mile from us in the Brooke Ridge community, in a condo. She lives independently and has made wonderful friends in the building. She goes to yoga at the MJCCA, is involved in the Dunwoody Newcomers Club, and enjoys mah jongg and book clubs with her neighbors.
It is so nice for my kids to have their grandmother nearby. Prior to her move, we did not live near family and that has always been hard. It is nice to have Shabbat dinner with my mom and for it to be easy for her to come to school events. I also appreciate being able to accompany her to some doctor appointments and being so close by in the event that she needs anything. That gives us all peace of mind. I wish she had moved years ago!
Elie Engler: My mother and stepfather, both aged 66, moved to Atlanta in April 2018 from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The main reason for relocation was to be near three of their children and seven of their grandchildren. Shortly after moving here, my stepfather got sick. It was great having them close during his illness, but unfortunately, he passed away in August. I’m so glad we could be here for my mother during this difficult time. While it was hard for her to make friends when my stepfather was sick, she is slowly coming along. We love having her here for Shabbat and just fun weekend and school activities. She lives in Toco Hills and is a member of Young Israel of Toco Hills. I think over the next few months she will try and figure out her spot here in the Atlanta Jewish community.
My in-laws moved from Vancouver to Sandy Springs in 2014 after my father-in-law retired as a Rabbi. They were 69 and 63 at the time they moved here. My wife is their third child and only daughter. It has been wonderful having them living near us. We spend most Shabbat dinners with them and see them a few times a week. They spend a lot of time with our children, their grandchildren, and have made many new friends. My in-laws are extremely involved in the Jewish community. My father-in-law teaches Melton Classes at the MJCCA and is a regular at Congregation B’nai Torah. He does other volunteering through JF&CS. My mother- in-law is involved at B’nai Torah as well.
Marsha Hurwitz: I moved to Atlanta last spring from Denver. Still too young to retire, and very eager to be in the same city as my grandchildren, moving here has been a win/win. Working at Federation on the Philanthropy Team, I get to continue my work in the Jewish world, helping to build a more thriving Jewish Atlanta that my children and grandchildren can enjoy.
My daughter and son in-law discussed proximity and we agreed we all needed ‘our own’ space. So, I live twelve miles from the office in a very Jewish neighborhood, and 30 miles “dor l’dor” to my daughter’s home.
I am loving being a part of my grandsons’ weekly lives. We try and do Shabbat dinner together at least once a month and celebrate the Jewish holidays together. My grandsons come to stay and dine at “Chateau Bubbe” and we just hang.
My other children and grandchildren are just one plane ride away and its wonderful when we can all get together under one roof – mine!