My "grandmother"* is a Holocaust survivor. She was a hidden child, then found and put in work camps, and after the liberation (which she celebrates as her birthday, because she doesn't know her actual birthday) at age 16 or so she was abducted by the irgun, or similar paramilitary force and taken to Israel (then Palestine).
I visit her every Sunday. We have breakfast, and then I do odd jobs around the house. I help her change the CD's in her somewhat complicated stereo, I do all her mending (she worked in some sort of a textile factory during the Holocaust, and has sworn never to use a needle again), read official mail and translate it into plain English, help with correspondence, and a number of other small tasks. As part of that I get to read the many requests she receives from different Jewish organizations asking for contributions. Everything from small yeshivot in Wisconsin, to the World Zionist Organization. It is a testament to a life spent active and interested in the Jewish community.
She also receives a great number of invitations. Many are to benefit dinners, but often they are to lectures at the Leo Baeck Institute, or the Museum of Jewish Heritage. My grandmother almost always wants to go, and wants me to go with her. Her reasons are twofold: 1) there is a great deal of travel involved, and it is hard for her to negotiate the subway/bus system alone, and 2) she wants me to hear these lectures. Thing is, I have zero interest. I feel like I already know Holocaust history, I've taken classes on it and read extensively. I'm not interested, and I really don't want to go. I work a full week, give up my Sunday for my grandmother (granted, I enjoy it, but it means that I have less discretionary time), and the last thing I want is to go way downtown at 7pm for a couple hours of discussion about the Holocaust.
Am I being selfish? I've taken her occasionally to the museum, and even attended a few hidden child meetings, and it is awful. I'm the only young person there, and I have to listen to a bunch of strangers tell me how important it is that I remember the Holocaust and pass it on to the next generation. I know. I'm not going to forget the Holocaust. I promise. But do I have to go to these events? And take my grandmother? She has one or two a week. I know that I sound whiny, but it would be one thing if I was remotely interested, or a negligent granddaughter, but neither of those are true.
So tell me, what's my responsibility here?
*We're not really related. It is sort of complicated.