Grandparent Spotlight: The Riedels

Grandparent Spotlight: The Riedels

Heilicher Grandparents Claude and Laurel Riedel live in South Minneapolis where they raised their two sons, Aaron and Kagan, and attended Bet Shalom Congregation as a family.  Bet Shalom is where both young men experienced their B'nai Mitzvahs. Claude and Laurel are now members of Shir Tikvah Congregation where they enjoy walking to services.

“It was a dream come true,” said Claude, reflecting on the day he learned that his grandson Aidan would attend Heilicher. “And we’re also thrilled that Charlotte will start Kindergarten there in the fall. Laurel and I both entered parenthood understanding we would raise our family in the Jewish faith. To see both our children find their own paths to Jewish living as adults brings us great joy.”

Laurel shared that she especially values the school’s focus on teaching the Jewish value of tikkun olam, repairing the world. During three decades as a nurse midwife at Hennepin County Medical Center, Laurel guided women and families through the miracle and mystery of birth. She shared that creating respectful space for cultural, spiritual, and family beliefs was her version of making the world more whole.

Laurel, currently retired from midwifery, has created a business educating individuals and caregivers about creating health care directives, including Living Deeply, Dying Well workshops, currently in session.   

Claude recently retired as a psychologist but stays busy as an artist, creating glass sculptural Nerot Tamid, Eternal Lights, for synagogues around the world. In 1995, Bet Shalom asked him to create a Ner Tamid for their sanctuary. Since then, he has completed numerous commissions.

Riedel uses this creative outlet as a way to honor and deepen his connection to Judaism. He sees his work as putting back the shards of Kristallnacht, piece by piece. In the Twin Cities, his work can be seen at Bet Shalom, Shir Tikvah, Temple Israel, Adath Yeshuran, the former B’nai Emet and the Kollel school.

Riedel family

Riedels with their grandson Aidan at Yom Dor L'Dor/Grandparents and Special Persons Day at Heilicher, November 2018.

Both Riedels are overjoyed by the time they get to spend with their grandchildren. Claude shared that for him, the grandparenting experience is extra special because this is the only family he has, as most of his family died in the Holocaust. His mother, Sophie Riedel (z"l), was the director of the “School for Young Children” in Minneapolis from 1955-1980. Claude was strongly reminded of her school at the recent Yom Dor L’Dor/Grandparents and Special Persons Day at Heilicher.

As grandparents, Claude and Laurel are sitting back and enjoying Aidan’s and soon Charlotte’s day school experience, and they couldn’t be happier. "We both strongly believe that education is the most important thing you can do for your community and the future,” Laurel said.

Laurel and Claude Riedel are Co-Chairs of the 2019 Grandparent Annual Fund Campaign


  • Annual Fund
  • Grandparents
  • Jewish Life

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