jkidphilly Family of the Month

We love getting to know so many wonderful families in our jkidphilly community! Every month, we'll feature a different family who shares about their Jewish life and the impact of jkidphilly in their lives.

 

December: The O'Brien Family

Leah and Jonathan O'Brien and their son Joel, 2, enjoy feeling welcomed and part of a community when they come to jkidphilly events. Leah says that the activities are always varied and fun... "they are things that we would want to do as a family anyway, then tremendously enriched by the Jewish learning element." Leah also connected with some local moms at a jkidphilly Mom's Night Out event and has since joined their regular mah jong game.

What kind of Jewish activities do you enjoy at home?

At home, we celebrate shabbat, attend tot shabbat and family shabbat services, celebrate holidays, learn Hebrew words, read PJ library books, do mitzvot, and listen to Jewish music in the car.We love reading our PJ Library books. Our Friday evening Shabbat rituals are a highlight of the week. We have also incorporated several small Jewish gestures into our regular routines, such as giving tzedakah and saying "laila tov" at bedtime.

What are your favorite PJ Library books?

Good Night, Laila Tov is our all time favorite. 

O'Brien family
This photo was taken after we said Shabbat blessings at sunset on a family camping trip. We used tea lights, a challah roll and grape juice in a water bottle. After dinner, we crawled into our tent and sleeping bags and read 'Good Night, Laila Tov' by lantern. Being outdoors gave an enriched meaning to Shabbat, and it was one of our family favorites.

What do you think other parents should know about jkidphilly?

Earlier this year, we took the 'Raising a Child with Judiasm in an Interfaith Family' Course (co-sponsored by InterfaithFamily).  It was fantastic and thought-provoking and we can't praise it enough. The learning modules and forum led us to discover how we can incorporate Jewish traditions and customs into our daily family life. We've really enjoyed the journey! Parents should know that jkidphilly is a phenomenal organization that brings togethers Jewish families from all over the Philadelphia area to celebrate being Jewish by engaging in Jewish culture through activities, lessons, and mitzvot.  Our children love going to jkidphilly events.

 

November: The Penchansky Family

.Lori-An an Marc Penchansky and their son Aaron, 4,  really like that jkidphilly offers cultural programs for Jewish families. "Programs, like the jkidphilly tour of the Philadelphia Art Museum, help us connect to other Jewish families while introducing art in an accessible manner. Aaron still talks about the painting of a man holding the green head, " Lori-An says, "And the social action programs have helped connect Jewish values in a relevant, tangible way."

What kind of Jewish activities do you enjoy at home?

We, of course, love to read our PJ Library books. We also really enjoy Jewish holidays, spending time with our family and friends, and celebrating Shabbat. Aaron likes to say the Shema at night and has taken to Jewish music, especially the songs he learned at school and camp.  At home, he is a little Jewish troubadour, walking around the house, strumming his little guitar (OK it’s a ukulele but don’t tell him that) and making sure mommy and daddy are singing along.

What are your favorite PJ Library books?

We love to read them all as soon as they come in the mail, but Aaron’s favorite is still Bear Feels Sick. He loves to “read” along with us and can be heard reciting the lines as he plays. He really likes when he is at school and they read one we have at home, it gives him an extra Jewish connection.

Are you part of any other organized Jewish communities?
We are members of, and I am fortunate to work at Temple Sinai in Dresher. Aaron is in Pre-K at the Ann Newman Preschool and I teach the other Pre-K class.  We love that the families in the school and the Jewish culture is top-notch. Aaron also attends Ramah Day Camp. He spent his first summer there and asks nearly every day when is it summer again so he can go back to his camp. 

What do you think other parents should know about jkidphilly?

The books are just the beginning.  jkdphilly is a wonderful organization that is an indispensible asset to help families of all observance levels incorporating the values and spirit of Judaism into their lives.  Through their programs, families can enrich their lives through the cultural programs, the social action programs and not to mention the chance to make new friends.  There really is something for everyone and families should pick something that looks meaningful to them and try it out!

 

 

 

October: The Levinson Family 

Sarah and Joshua Levinson and their children Noah, 9, Norah, 7, and Isaac, 4 enjoy going to jkidphilly events and getting to see families they know from different areas of Bucks County. Sarah says, "It's really great to see some of the friends that we knew from preschool and don't see as often anymore. I also like the sense of being part of a greater Jewish community. This is especially important as sometimes it's a little isolated all the way up in New Hope."

What kind of Jewish activities do you enjoy at home?

We all love to read the PJ books when they come. The kids love getting mail addressed to them that they can open. Noah usually reads his cover to cover the moment it arrives. We also have enjoyed being a part of the Jewish venturer program. The kids found the challenges exciting and we even were inspired to have a camping Shabbat.

What are your favorite PJ Library books?

The Ziz is an all time favorite. Also, the Shema board book is well loved and helped Noah teach Isaac the prayer.

Have you connected with other jkidphilly families?

Yes, actually, I met a family from New Hope first at a JKid event in Northampton before we even met them at school. Now our kids are in the same elementary school classes.
Are you part of any other organized Jewish communities?
We belong to Kehilat Hanahar in New Hope where all 3 of the kids attend Hebrew school, and I am head of the education committee there. Also, my son Noah attends camp Galil and is active in their year-round program.

What do you think other parents should know about jkidphilly?

Parents should know that it's more than just books. There are so many resources available at jkidphilly. The administrators and advisers at jkidphilly are amazingly connected to the local Jewish world and can provide personalized resources about other programming that might be of interest to a particular family based on geography and interest.
 
September: The Barrett Family

Julie and Jim Barrett and their children Nick, 6 and Grayson, almost 3, love attending jkidphilly events to interact and meet other families in the area.  Julie says, "Every parent, child, and staff member we meet is warm and welcoming.  Every event is a wonderful opportunity to learn, grow, and connect with other Jewish families."

What kind of Jewish activities do you enjoy at home?

We recently learned how to bake our own challah from a jkidphilly event, so this is a new experience for our family!  And of course the boys eagerly await their PJ library books every month.

What are your favorite PJ Library books?

Our favorites are Sadie's Sukkah Breakfast, Boker Tov Good Morning, and The Night Before Hanukkah

Are you part of any other organized Jewish communities?

Grayson will be attending Beth Israel Preschool this fall and we are currently deciding which synagogue in the area will be the perfect match for us.

What do you think other parents should know about jkidphilly?

jkidphilly is such a giving organization that cares a great deal about making families feel welcome in the Jewish community.  jkidphilly has been a wonderful resource helping our family learn about ourselves and our community.

barretts

 

August: The Neff Family

Rob and Nancy Neff and their children Sylvie, 5 and Adam, 3 love seeing friends and meeting new friends at jkidphilly events. They also love participating in Jewish activities and allowing their children to enjoy themselves in fun places in the Philadelphia area.

What kind of Jewish activities do you enjoy at home?

We enjoy reading PJ books at bedtime, having Shabbat dinner with family and friends, listening to Jewish music in the car, building our sukkah each year and inviting friends over for dinner, attending events at Beth Hillel and Main Line Reform Temple.

What are your favorite PJ Library books?

Old McNoah Built an Ark, I Can Help, Bear Feels Sick, No Rules for Michael, And Then Another Sheep Turned Up, The Shabbat Box.

Are you part of any other organized Jewish communities?

Sylvie just "graduated" from Beth Hillel in Wynnewood. She has been there since she was 18 months old. Adam is currently a student in their pre-school program and camp program. Sylvie is enjoying her first summer at Harlam Day Camp! And Nancy has been teaching at Main Line Reform Temple for the past 9 years.

What do you think other parents should know about jkidphilly?

jkidphilly is such a nice way to meet other Jewish families. I love bringing my kids to the events where they participate in mitzvot and hang out with Jewish families in the area. Everyone is very friendly and the staff is welcoming!

Neff family

 

July: The Singer Family

.Allison and Michael Singer and their 2-year-old twins Emily and Evan love coming to jkidphilly programs because of the great opportunities for doing mitzvot from an early age and connecting with other jkidphilly families..

What kind of Jewish activities do you enjoy at home?

We enjoy lighting Shabbat candles, reading PJ library books, playing with our Kidkraft Shabbat/Chanukah/Passover sets, singing Israeli songs, and speaking in Hebrew whenever we have the opportunity. 

What are your favorite PJ Library books?

Let's Visit Israel, Dinosaur Goes to Israel, Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah, Baby Be Kind, Bim! Sings the Baby

Are you part of any other organized Jewish communities?

We belong to Temple Sholom in Broomall, which is also where Emily and Evan have been attending preschool since they were 1.  Miss Liz is an amazing Director, and all of the teachers are warm and nurturing and the programming is excellent.  We enjoy Temple Sholom's Tot Shabbat services, Pajama Havdalah, and their summer camp.  Michael plays on the Temple Sholom softball team in the Main Line Synagogue League.
We also enjoy going to the National Museum of American Jewish History

What do you think other parents should know about jkidphilly?

That the programs offer great opportunities for doing mitzvot, and for bringing the Jewish community together.  They also provide great resources for bringing Judaism into your home.

June: The Oslick family

 Ruth and Evan Oslick and their children Rebecca, 5 and Shane, 2, love coming to jkid programs because "each one presents an opportunity for our children to learn and share the Jewish faith as well as opportunities to perform mitzvahs for our community." They have become friendly with several other families they have met at jkidphilly programs.

What kind of Jewish activities do you enjoy at home?

!Rebecca and Shane both love reading PJ library books. Every day when I get the mail they ask me if their Jewish Library book came! We also love learning about the Jewish holidays and having kid oriented celebrations.

What are your favorite PJ Library books?

Rebecca loves "Grandma Rose's Magic" and "Melly's Menorah". Shane loves "Shabbat is Coming"

Are you part of any other organized Jewish communities?

Rebecca attends Pre-K at Shaare Shamayim. She loves learning about the Jewish Holidays and is eager to share her knowledge at home, and we have now started several holiday traditions as a result.

What do you think other parents should know about jkidphilly?

That the programs offer great opportunities for doing mitzvot, and for bringing the Jewish community together.  They also provide great resources for bringing Judaism into your home.Other parents should know that jkidphilly presents wonderful learning and family activities for children of all ages. Your children will take away something from each event. Whether it is making new friends, learning the Jewish faith, or performing a mitzvah, each event is an opportunity to learn, grow and connect with other Jewish families in the area. We try to attend at least one or two events a month.

May: The Needleman Family

Lynda Lyons Needleman loves bringing her two-and-half-year-old twins Nathaniel and Sara to jkidphilly programs to engage in the Jewish culture through a social and fun atmosphere, and of course seeing old friends and meeting new ones!

What kind of Jewish activities do you enjoy at home?

Our bedtime routine includes reading 3 books the kids pick out - which usually includes at least 1 PJ Library book, and then the kids each say the shema and say something they are thankful for. Once we get settled in (we just moved), I also plan to incorporate tzedakah into the bedtime routine with their new PJ Library tzedakah box.  We also do shabbat dinner, bake challah and celebrate the different holidays with other appropriate baking/cooking and activities. Rebecca attends Pre-K at Shaare Shamayim. She loves learning about the Jewish Holidays and is eager to share her knowledge at home, and we have now started several holiday traditions as a result.

What are your favorite PJ Library books?

Baby Be Kind is the most read and loved PJ Library book by far, but my kids love animals, so they are also really enjoying our new Purim book, The Better-Than-Best Purim.

Are you part of any other organized Jewish communities?

The kids attend Judy Sare Nursery School at Congregation Tifereth Israel in Bensalem, The kids and I have not yet joined a synagogue, but my parents belong to Shaare Shamayim in NE Philly, so we split our time between TI and Shaare Shamayim for services and events based on what fits our schedule best! jkidphilly is a very open and friendly social organization for kids and their parents. It doesn't make a difference if you attend one event a year or one a month, whether Judaism defines you or is just one small part of you, you are always welcomed with open arms, and the jkidphilly team is always friendly and wanting to help you out with anything they can!  I'm so glad my kids and I found the jkidphilly community!

What do you think other parents should know about jkidphilly?

jkidphilly is a very open and friendly social organization for kids and their parents. It doesn't make a difference if you attend one event a year or one a month, whether Judaism defines you or is just one small part of you, you are always welcomed with open arms, and the jkidphilly team is always friendly and wanting to help you out with anything they can!  I'm so glad my kids and I found the jkidphilly community!

 

April: The Winokur Family

Galit Abramovitz Winokur & Marcel Winokur love bringing their daughter Sydney, 3, to jkidphilly programs to meet new people, socialize and even network (Galit is a realtor in center city: www.realestatewithheart.com). They also love exposing Sydney to Judaism in a fun way that she can relate to at her young age. We asked them some questions about their Jewish life...

 

What kind of Jewish activities do you enjoy at home?

Galit & Marcel: We love reading our PJ library books, lighting Shabbat candles from time to time and celebrating the major holidays with our family.

 

What are your favorite PJ Library books?

Galit & Marcel: Baby Be Kind, The Runaway Latkes, The Better-than-Best Purim

 

Are you part of any other organized Jewish communities?

Galit & Marcel: We are in our 2nd year at Schwartz Pre-School at Kesher Israel in Center City. It's a wonderful school - warm and nurturing and the teachers are all amazing! We also plan to be members there after we are no longer affiliated with the pre-school.

 

What do you think other parents should know about jkidphilly?

It's a great place to make new friends and feel more connected to Judaism in a very low-pressure way. It's a very welcoming organization with wonderful staff who are genuinely happy to see returning and new faces at their events.
 

 

 

 

March: The Glushakow Family

Adam and Joanna Glushakow and their children Lily, 6, and Mia, 2, enjoy coming to jkidphilly programs as a family, making new friends at our programs and becoming better friends with people they already knew.
We asked them some questions about their Jewish life...

What kind of Jewish activities do you enjoy at home?

Joanna and Adam: We love to read PJ books and to celebrate the Jewish holidays with our family. We love reading our PJ library books, lighting Shabbat candles from time to time and celebrating the major holidays with our family.

 

What are your favorite PJ Library books?

"It's a... it's a... It's a... Mitvah," "Zishe the Strongman," "The Golem's Latkes" Baby Be Kind, The Runaway Latkes, The Better-than-Best Purim

 

Are you part of any other organized Jewish communities?

Joanna and Adam: We belong to Kesher Israel in West Chester where Lily goes to religious school and Mia goes to preschool.

 

What do you think other parents should know about jkidphilly?

Joanna and Adam: It's a wonderful way to feel connected to the local jewish community- to be able to participate in fun activities and meet other families. 
 

Glushakow family

 

February: The Cornfield Family

 

Josh and Abbye Cornfield and children Jacob, 3, and Oren, 2 months old, enjoy that jkidphilly offers age-appropriate activities that allow them to meet other families from the area. jkidphilly also lets them catch up with old friends in the area and can even have the feeling of a reunion. They appreciate that some activities are based around the holiday, while others present an opportunity to come together to perform a mitzvah and Abbye likes our "Moms Night Outs." too.

We asked Josh and Abbye some questions about their Jewish life...

What kind of Jewish activities do you enjoy at home?


Josh and Abbye: We enjoy reading PJ library books, adding loose change found around the house to the tzedakah box, and listening to PJ library CDs in the car. We also celebrate Shabbat on Friday nights, by lighting candles, eating challah and doing the kiddish with grape juice. Before bed we say the sh'ma every night.
 

What are your favorite PJ Library books?

 

Josh and Abbye: "Thank You, Trees!", "A Kiss on the Keppie," and "Goodnight Sh'ma", "Baby Be Kind"

Are you part of any other organized Jewish communities?

 
Josh and Abbye: We belong to Adath Israel. Jacob attends Robert J. Wilf Preschool at Kaiserman JCC. Abbye teaches at Perelman Jewish Day School.

 

What do you think other parents should know about jkidphilly?


Josh and Abbye: jkidphilly is a great way to meet other families and it instills the idea of doing mitzvot at a very young age. It also helps find a way to bring Judaism into your home. jkidphilly events  are welcoming and warm, and provide different activities for all interest levels. They are creative, well-planned activities and jkidphilly is always open to ideas and suggestions.
 
Cornfield family