By Francesca Norsen Tate
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Kings Bay Y will launch new Jewish family life programming in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill this fall with support from UJA-Federation of New York.
The programming is designed for babies/toddlers aged 0-5 and will incorporate Jewish culture and themes.
Fort Greene and Clinton Hill have become home in the last few years to an increasing number of young Jewish and interfaith Jewish families, mostly upper-middle-class professionals with babies and toddlers. This emerging population has given the Kings Bay Y a “new frontier” of Jewish engagement, according to Leonard Petlakh, Kings Bay Y’s executive director.
“From the focus groups and programming we have conducted in these communities, we know that these families are not seeking a synagogue-based entry portal to Jewish life but a form of family-friendly cultural engagement that instills Jewish values and strengthens their connection to other local families,” Petlakh said.
There will be separate weekly programs at locations in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.
Classes will include “J-Yum and Hum” (Jewish Music, Stories and Treats Around the World) — a nurturing, dynamic and interactive program for parents and kids 3 months old through “crawler” age that features music and cuisine from around the world, highlighting global Jewish communities; “J-Story and Song” (Stories and Songs for “Big” Kids), which will engage parents and their infant/toddler children in an interactive program based on Jewish-themed books; and “Wiggle, Jump and Sing,” a music and storytelling program held at local public library locations.
Facilitating the programming will be the Y’s new director of Jewish Family Life in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, Caryn Roman, who also works with parents in the Y’s Windsor Terrace child care programs.
Besides the weekly classes, the Y will sponsor community-wide family holiday celebrations, beginning with a Rosh Hashanah event on Sept. 25, from 1 to 3 p.m., at the Trilok Fusion Center, located at 143 Waverly Ave, in Fort Greene. Future celebrations for Chanukah, Tu B’shvat, Purim and Yom Ha’atzmaut, as well as monthly Jewish parenting workshops and discussions, are also planned.
The Y’s programming will operate in collaboration with Fig Tree, an innovative Hebrew school program based in Clinton Hill, and it will also utilize two separate program spaces in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill.
“By offering Jewish family life opportunities, community-building programs and Jewish parenting workshops, we’re introducing families and kids to the Jewish world in a very low-key, non-threatening way,” Petlakh said.