Call it the ultimate NEXTGen startup. A new program conceived as a means to bring young families into the fold of Jewish life in the community.
By Vivian Henoch, Editor myJewishDetroit
August 1, 2013
Girl or boy?
What’s the Jewish ritual for naming my baby?
Who do we call for a mohel?
Will we ever sleep through the night again?
Where did the day go?
New parenthood. It will blow your mind and make you believe in miracles. It will bring you to your knees and bring you to tears. It will make you laugh and kvel at the littlest things. And no matter how smart you are, no matter how much you’ve read, no matter how your own parents advise, your baby will continue to mystify and challenge you – for life.
For beginning parents and parents-to-be, the concept for Federation’s new jbabydetroit! is simple. Fill the need for new moms and dads to connect to the community; then feed their hunger to share their experiences and to learn from one another.
Connecting new parents from “Bump to Birth and Beyond”
An initiative of Federation’s Alliance for Jewish Education and NEXTGen Detroit, and brought to the community through a grant from the Hermelin Davidson Jewish Family Education Fund, jbabydetroit! is conceived as a means to reach out and bring together families at a pivotal time for making social connections that include Judaism in their everyday lives.
Moving back to Detroit after a long hiatus through her college years and first years of marriage, Shari Graham describes how she yearned for the “hamish (down to earth) feel” of her hometown. “New York was a great place to start a career, but not the kind of place where we wanted to start our family,” she says. Shari was 34 years old and pregnant when she and her husband Heyden moved back to Farmington Hills to be closer to family. “I found that even though I grew up here, the transition was hard,” she observed, “We were no longer part of the singles going group out every Friday night and we weren’t those married couples spending afternoons in baby swim classes. A program like jbabydetroit! offers the bridge between life stages, helping new families to find organized groups, run by professionals, and all the better by plugging us into the Jewish community.”
Parenting with a Jewish spin
“For some, jbabydetroit! is a first step into the Detroit Jewish 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 and explore together what our community has to offer in new and existing classes and resources available in our Jewish congregations, pre-schools and Jewish Community Centers.”
Another new family in the community, Ariella and Dani Shaffren moved to Southfield from New Jersey when their son Koby was one year old. Happy to see the startup of jbabydetroit! in both real time and virtual space, Ariella observes, “I think the online component of the program fills a much needed niche and creates opportunities for new moms and new dads to find and share resources, to form a camaraderie and to help each other through life events.”
Classes begin in October
Starting with a website and Facebook page for social networking, jbabydetroit! is still expanding its schedule of classes. Times and locations are soon to be announced. For parents-to-be, jbabydetroit! starts with a six-week prenatal birthing class that covers the essentials from birthing techniques to CPR and newborn care. For parents of newborns to age 2, jbabydetroit! will roll out a host of activities in partnership with community congregations and the JCC working with a growing list of healthcare professionals and other enterprises in the baby business.
Find more information on new parenting with a Jewish spin, join jbabydetroit! for a free swim class at SUMMER SPLASH, a community Fun Day at the JCC in West Bloomfield, Sunday, August 4, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.