YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood

Catch the Spirit of Shabbat

As golden leaves drift down from trees and temperatures fall, our thoughts turn to the bounty of Thanksgiving next week and the holidays beyond that. It’s time for celebrating with loved ones and enjoying long-standing traditions, like favorite recipes, right along with brand-new traditions, like drawing a high chair up to the table for baby’s first November feast.

Here at the Y, we’re creating some new traditions of our own. Through the Y Beginnings Parenting Center, we debuted our new Tot Shabbat program, better known as Ukulele Shabbat to the families joining us Friday mornings. Rabbi Ezra Weinberg plays his ukulele and together we sing and enjoy story time, candle lighting, blessings, challah and juice. We invite all families with little ones to join our circle, and welcome the light of shabbat into the end of their busy weeks. We also invite everyone to play “name that tune,” and see which hit 1980s song we adapted for our Ukulele Shabbat candle blessing.

Meanwhile, in our nursery school, more than 70 children ages 2 through 4 now gather together as a group for our monthly Preschool Community Shabbat. Kids and staff alike delight in this communal celebration, with singing and storytelling, as the week draws to a close. Join us sometime on the third Fridayof the month!

After picking up your children from school, you can now pick up some challah dough in our lobby. It’s ready to braid and bake, and will surely warm up your Friday night table. Challah will be available on the third Friday of the month from 3:30 to 5:30. Challah braiding, like all of our shabbat programming, is free to attend.

The spirit of shabbat is certainly easy to catch! After attending Ukulele Shabbat, one parent reported that her daughter can’t stop singing, “Shabbat shalom, hey!” It’s this energy and enthusiasm that will carry us through the new week.

By Mara Bragg, Y Beginnings Parenting Center Coordinator

About the Y
Established in 1917, the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood (the Y) is Northern Manhattan’s premier Jewish community center — serving an ethnically and socio-economically diverse constituency — improving the quality of life for people of all ages through critical social services and innovative programs in health, wellness, education, and social justice, while promoting diversity and inclusion, and caring for those in need.

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