five little girls, one little boy, and two parents, both holding infants, pose together for a family picture
Rabbi Shimon (left) and Chanie Gruzman (right) and their bounty of twins. (Photo/Courtesy)

East Bay Chabad couple welcomes fourth set of twins

Do twins run in Chanie Gruzman’s family?

“Now they do,” she said with a laugh.

The Chabad of Castro Valley emissary and her husband, Rabbi Shimon Gruzman, just welcomed their fourth set of twins.

Miriam and Yocheved were born April 17, bringing to eight the number of children in the Gruzman family.

That’s not necessarily a high number for a Chabad family. Both Chanie and Shimon have more than 10 siblings themselves. But their situation is rare.

“I do think sometimes it’s crazy,” said Chanie. “But by now — the fourth one — I think I was ready for this one. The other three? I think we were like, no way, not again?”

The oldest twins, Mushka and Ita, are 11. Rochel and Leah are 6. Mendel and Esther are 3. Three sets are fraternal twins and one pair is identical, Chanie said. In all, there are seven girls and one boy.

“We had the funniest conversations before they were born,” Chanie said of her newborns. “I didn’t tell [my kids] that they were twins. But my kids are like, that’s a given in the family. It’s just a given.”

The phenomenon doesn’t come out of nowhere — there are twins in Shimon’s family — but for Chanie, it’s been surprising. At this point, though, she has plenty of advice for mothers of twins. She recommends, for example, getting on a schedule as soon as possible.

“When you have one, you can say, ‘Oh, they missed the feeding for a few minutes, or we’re a little late in the feeding. It’s OK.’ Right? Because you’ll somehow eventually catch up,” she said. “But when you have two, and then they’re both going to get up at the same time and start to scream and yell, you’ve got to be prepared.”

She also thinks new moms should keep their surroundings calm in the first days home.

“I usually also tell moms to make it very easy, not too many visitors in the beginning, to not overstimulate the babies,” she said.

In 2013 the Gruzman’s opened a Chabad center in Castro Valley, which is south of Oakland. They offer Shabbat and holiday services and events, as well as adult learning and Hebrew school for children.

Maya Mirsky
Maya Mirsky

Maya Mirsky is a J. Staff Writer based in Oakland.