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C. Rosenberg

When family reunions end with comments like, “Do we really have to wait a whole year to get together again?” or, “It’s a pity the out-of-towners couldn’t make it — we haven’t spoken in ages!” your family is a perfect candidate for a teleconference. What are family teleconferences? Why do families set them up? And what makes them successful? Members of family teleconferences share the finer details.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

“The first year after my grandmother was niftar, the American side of the family came from all over the country to participate in a yahrtzeit seudah,” Chanie Schwartz remembers. “However, it ended up being a bit of a disappointment. Though we all knew why we were there — to remember our loss — the siyumim and Kaddishim were on the other side of the mechitzah, and it was hard not to get distracted. Some of the cousins hadn’t seen each other in a while, and there was a lot of catching up to do.”

The following year, the family did something different; a family teleconference was organized. “This time, the evening was all about remembering Bubby,” Chanie relates. “Every single member of the family had a close, meaningful, and unique relationship with Bubby. On the teleconference, each participant was given the floor for a few minutes to relay her memories.”

First, Bubby’s sister spoke about their childhood and teenage years, revealing interesting tidbits most of the family had never been aware of. Afterward, her daughters and daughters-in-law shared memories from their vantage points as children. Then the grandchildren were given a chance to reminisce.

Aside from the fact that family members from all over the globe were able to participate without babysitters or traveling hassles, and no one had to prepare — or pay for — a grand yahrtzeit seudah, it turned out to be a lot more meaningful.

“Having this teleconference was a brilliant idea,” a cousin remarked at the end of the call, echoing nearly everyone’s sentiments. “Instead of getting distracted, we were able to focus and actually remember Bubby — and learn something new about her, too.”

With the increase of service providers and economical teleconferencing options, many families are finding that there is so much to gain from this conventional and convenient method of keeping in touch with relatives.


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