OCEANS APART: A Guide to Maintaining Family Ties at a Distance

OCEANS APART: A Guide to Maintaining Family Ties at a Distance
    Price: $18.00

    OCEANS APART: A Guide to Maintaining Family Ties at a Distance

    by Rachel U. Berman

    Softcover, 200 pages
    KTAV Publishing House, Urim Publications, 2010
    ISBN: 978-160-280-158-5

    Oceans Apart will help you understand and enhance your long distance family relationships. In this book you will discover how to:
    • Maintain close, loving ties with family members who live far away 
    • Plan a successful visit 
    • Keep in touch between visits 
    • Set aside meaningful one-on-one time with individual family members  
    • Manage tension and conflict from afar and during a visit 
    • Cope with illness and death at a distance 
    • Maintain ties with grandchildren 
    • Bridge the gap between you and your long-distance siblings, nieces and nephews 
    • Deal with cultural and language differences 
    • Use technology effectively to stay in close touch  
    • and much much more!

    Praise for Oceans Apart
    "From the time Rochel U. Berman's older son, Josh, was 15, he knew he wanted to live in Israel. After college, he fulfilled his dream and has been living there for the past 20 years. That means Berman has only been able to see her son, daughter-in-law and four grandchildren intermittently and for brief periods. Initially, being so far away filled Berman with melancholy. That was until she decided that she was going to do everything possible to stay connected. Berman's experiences have inspired her to write Oceans Apart: A Guide to Maintaining Family Ties at a Distance, a book designed to aid immigrants and their children, international students and those on overseas assignments, as well as their families and relatives back home. In writing the book, Berman, who holds a Master's in social work and has advised families on nurturing relationships from afar, draws on her own experiences as well as interviews she conducted with 70 people from 25 countries. She offers a wealth of anecdotes and practical advice while exploring such issues as getting to know a child's spouse from a distance, planning visits that minimize tension and revitalize relationships, dealing with a parent's illness or sudden death when you are far away, creative uses of technology for keeping in touch between visits and maintaining ties with grandchildren. One of her most successful strategies for the latter is to have her grandchildren visit alone or with one sibling. This has been, she says, a wonderful bonding experience. When her grandson Binyamin visited her and his grandfather at their home in Boca Raton, for example, she involved him in the advance planning. From a list she prepared for him, he selected the outings and projects that he wanted to take part in. She even encouraged him to keep a written record of his experiences with accompanying photos. This turned into Binyamin in Boca, a 28-page book that he and his grandparents have enjoyed long after his return to Israel. This visit created bonds and developed mutual understanding that would not have been possible in any other setting, Berman writes, adding that it was a big victory for all of us."
    - Jewish Woman International Magazine

    "Imagine your star pupil has just arrived in Japan for a relocation assignment. The international experience will be invaluable to the employee's development and he or she will surely be doing important work for the company overseas. In the planning and execution stages of the move, you (or your relocation provider) probably covered everything from home sales and Japanese culture to spousal-assistance programs. With relocation budgets tight these days, there is little room for error. So why not go one step further and help ensure that expats are prepared to maintain other family relationships from a distance - like connections with parents, grown children, cousins, or even nieces and nephews? Rochel Berman - author of the book Oceans Apart: A Guide to Maintaining Family Ties at a Distance and mother of a son who has lived in Israel for more than 20 years - says companies need to do more on this front. First and foremost, they should make sure relocated employees use web-cam technology such as Skype, with its free video chat, but realize its limitations. "Skype does help, but you can't hug a Skype and you can't hug a jpeg," she says. She says companies should set up chat rooms on their internet sites so families in similar positions can exchange ideas about how they are sustaining relationships at a distance. Some of the richer relocation packages include one or two home visits per year for the relocating employee (and possibly the whole family).
    Jared Shelly, Relocation Columnist, HR Executive Magazine

    "With aliyah and extended stays in Israel on the upswing, as well as international assignments for professional advancement becoming common, members of our community will have much use for the practical wisdom amassed in this advice-packed book. The author, a social worker, came to her subject because of the aliyah of her older son and the subsequent birth of her grandchildren living "oceans apart," yet she has taken her topic of maintaining loving family ties at a distance and universalized it. Her subjects include recent and long-term immigrants to the United States, American professionals who choose to live in Europe, Chabad emissaries who devote themselves to far-flung Jewish communities, and a variety of olim. All must deal with adjusting to cultural differences, coping with parental illness and death at a distance, and trying to maintain traditions and closeness despite separation from their family of origin.
    Given twenty-first-century technologies such as e-mail and Skype, many families manage to communicate frequently and in a variety of media, but the author points out that these are not the same as being a physical presence in a grandchild's life. She offers sensitive suggestions on how to preplan visits with distant grandchildren, deal with the tensions arising from turf issues, and extend a trip's afterglow by creating a photo album of the stay. Each chapter has a practical take-away, and the reader feels in the presence of a wise and savvy grandmother sharing her life's learning. This is a warm and helpful book for the kin-keepers among us, no matter how much distance separates us from our loved ones."
    - Roselyn Bell, The Journal of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Association, April 2012