The new parents have arrived. Parking car seats and diaper bags at the door, bearing gifts of pot luck nibbles and balancing bouncing new babies in arms, the first cohort – or graduates of Federation’s new jbabydetroit! “Prenatal Class” — gathered on a Sunday afternoon in April for a post-partum reunion hosted by Ariella, Tzvi and Hadassa Raviv at the home of proud grandparents, Hannan and Lisa Lis.
“Are you sleeping through the night yet?”
“Just swaddle, swish and shush? You know, that doesn’t always work”
“Chicken soup? Really? When can you start your baby on soup?”
With sleep-deprived eyes rarely averted from the babies in the room, the parents in attendance compared notes and shared tips and stories of delivery –all in the first daze of parenthood together. And all a part of a bigger plan in the Jewish community.
Connecting new parents from “Bump to Birth and Beyond”
Call it the ultimate NEXTGen startup. An initiative of Federation’s Alliance for Jewish Education and NEXTGen Detroit, and brought to the community through a grant from the Hermelin-Davidson Center for Congregation Excellence, jbabydetroit! was conceived (about nine months ago) as a means to reach out and bring young families together and into the fold of Jewish life in the community.
“The transition from couplehood to new parenthood is such a pivotal time for making social connections and, for some, it’s the first step into the larger Jewish Detroit community,” says Julie Yaker, Director of the program. “Our purpose is to provide the time and place for community engagement, as well as the opportunities online for new moms and dads to find one another and to discover what classes and resources our community has to offer in Jewish congregations, preschools and Jewish Community Centers.”
“From the start, the jbaby program has been an amazing experience,” says Ariella. “Even though we missed the last two sessions of the Prenatal Class (because Hadassa was born in November), all of the information presented was useful and engaging. The presenters clearly were all experts. The fact that this is in a Jewish context and in our community is a big bonus – way nicer than the clinical classes provided in hospital settings. It was great to meet the other soon-to-be-parents.”
Lindsey Barnett concurred, “I loved getting to know other couples…I wish it were longer than 6 weeks. I am sad it’s over.”
“Great information! And not the kind you can find in a book or just by researching,” noted Ashley Milgram. “When you can learn from an expert in a one-on-one environment, it is so much more beneficial. And I loved chatting with other parents-to-be on random topics such as daycare. I am so grateful to this program and I would recommend this to anyone!!! A+++”