What is Family Engagement?

Posted: October 15th, 2013

By Debbie Leon, Director, Family Engagement

What is Family Engagement?  What does it sound like? What does it look like? What does it feel like? These are the critical questions that jkidphilly professionals ask ourselves daily, and they are the framing questions that drive the work of jkidphilly in our community.

The answers run the gamut from simple or complex, and are as varied and diverse as our client base —families of all shapes, sizes who are raising Jewish children in Greater Philadelphia.  In other words, there are far too many to enumerate in this short blurb.

I can, however, share with you some of the insights that our participants have recently shared with us and that, in my estimation, shed light on the building blocks of family engagement—feeling a part of something, feeling respected, and feeling motivated to take one step or one more step into Jewish life and learning.

If you have a comment about jkidphilly that you would like to share with me, I welcome you to share it with me, either in the comments below, or email me at any time. 

  • I am happy to see that there is a vibrant Jewish community for my children to join, and my husband and I have become more focused on their Jewish education.
  • Thank you so much for hosting last night. I had a great time catching up while baking and making hallah! So excited to make it with my kids later today. Also the book and Shabbat cards (of blessings, recipes and traditions) were an extra special touch.
  • Love it! So laid back but so warm and welcoming! I wish there were something like this everywhere!
  • We had a great time today!  We always feel welcome at your functions.  The PJ Library books have helped us build a beautiful library for our daughter.  We have “Goodnight Shema” memorized, and we read it as a family every night.  Having a book for each holiday even reminds us when to break out the apples and honey, or the latkes!  The jkidphilly program is an asset to the community.  It brings so many of us together to watch our children develop and grow.
  • I am so happy that this wonderful Jewish resource exists! [jkidphilly staff members] are so kind and easy to talk to. Thanks for putting the playdate together!
  • Being a part of jkidphilly has really helped with our adjustment to our new community here.
  • I absolutely love [my new synagogue].  I owe you major.  If you have any recommendations for a camp with Hebrew I would have open ears.  You should market your knowledge of all the different programs as a service your organization offers to the community.  It’s such a maze and you really talk to people to understand what they are looking for.
  • PJ Library is a great opportunity for our family to have more Judaism in our home. Since I am a Jew by Choice, I don’t have my own family experiences to offer my three-year old. I can pull out the PJ Library CD when my girl wants to “practice ‘ebrew at home.”
  • Thank you for this incredible service. My young children look forward to the books so much. As an interfaith family, it means so much to instill a better sense of Jewish culture by reading the books. Books like these are so hard to come by otherwise. Thank you again.
  • [From an Early Childhood Center Director]:  One of our teachers was introducing the holiday of Shavuot to her class for the first time this year. One of the boys raised his hand and asked if they would be making blintzes in school. The teacher was really impressed and asked the little boy how he knew that we eat blintzes on Shavuot. He explained that his mom was reading him their newest book from PJ Library and the book was about Shavuot.  It is working!

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