Upcoming Events

For Kids and Families

Ukulele Shabbat (for kids ages 0 - 5 and their families)
​Fridays, 9:30 - 10:15 AM 
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PJ Library at the Y 2020 - 2021: Sharing Our Stories
Sunday, December 13, 2020
Monday, January 18, 2021
Sunday, March 21, 2021
Sunday, May 16, 2021
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Bubbie's Kitchen 
Thursday, November 12, 7:00 PM
Thursday, December 10
Thursday, January 14
Thursday, February 11
Thursday, March 11
Tuesday, April 6
Thursday, May 13
Thursday, June 10 
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For Teens and Adults
Teens Care: A Social Justice Film Series
Manhigut Institute Film Festival
Tuesdays, 6:30 - 8:30 PM 
October 6: Gun Violence
Film: Song of Parkland 
Speaker: Ashley Paseltiner
October 13: Racial Justice
Film: 13th 
Speaker: Marshall Rountree
October 20: Education Reform
Film: Teach Us All
October 27: Global Warming
Film: Before the Flood
For All
Kesher: Intergenerational Friendship Initiative
Kesher is designed to pair seniors and non-seniors in a relationship-building program through weekly phone calls and regular letter writing. Participation is open to both individuals and family units. Tools will be offered to assist younger children in their participation. 
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Shamayim Challenge
Wednesday, October 21, 7:00 PM (First Session)
The Y’s Norman E. Alexander Center for Jewish Life is excited to share with you the Shamayim Challenge for people of all ages! As we celebrate Jewish holidays and traditions throughout the year, we will explore vegan — plant-based — cooking with delicious recipes and discuss compassion for animals from a Jewish perspective, as well as plant-based alternatives to avoid food allergies. Each session will introduce a theme with a new dish. Recipes will be shared in advance. This program is generously sponsored by Shamayim Jewish Animal Advocacy and VegFund.
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For Parents
Y Beginnings and Norman E. Alexander Center for Jewish Life Parenting Workshop Series

Managing Anxiety in Your Young Child
Wednesday, October 14, 8:00 - 9:00 PM
Learn about the signs of anxiety in young children, age-appropriate behavior, red flags and coping skills, from Dr. Esther Rollhaus, board-certified psychiatrist and Y parent. 
Book Talk: Becoming a Soulful Parent
Wednesday, October 28, 3:00 - 4:00 PM
Meet the author! Dasee Berkowitz of Ayeka shares from her new book Becoming a Soulful Parent, a guide for families along a "path to the wisdom within," strengthening "muscles" like love, listening, empathy and curiosity, while drawing insights from traditional Jewish wisdom and contemporary spirituality.  
Self-Care Retreat for Parents
Tuesday, November 17, 8:00 - 9:00 PM
Parents are invited to treat themselves to an hour "off duty" — precious time for self-care via guided imagery, sharing, brief meditation, and the creation of a tangible reminder of their power and resilience as parents, facilitated by Mara Bragg, Y Beginnings Parenting Center Manager.
Click here to register with Zoom
New Moms Support Group, Including Two Weeks of the Breastfeeding Cafe
Fridays, 12:30 - 1:30 PM
October 2 to November 20
October 16 and November 6 presented as Breastfeeding Cafe
Series participation encouraged, and drop-ins welcome. For moms with newborns through six months. Guided by weekly topics, new moms are invited to share from their experience, ask questions, or just listen, as we learn from each other in a welcoming and inclusive environment that honors the unique path of each family, facilitated by Mara Bragg, CLC, Y Beginnings Parenting Center Manager.

The first two months of the Norman E. Alexander Center have been filled with activity -- serving the immediate needs of our community while simultaneously positioning the Alexander Jewish Center towards its goal to be the “Hub” of Jewish life in Washington Heights and Inwood.

Machar Summer Fellowship
The first cohort of this five-week fellowship for post-college adults was generously funded by UJA-Federation of New York during the summer of 2020  also known as the summer of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fellows were given tools and the opportunity to understand the current state of the US Jewish community, its history, and its current constitution. From this work, Fellows were able to craft and articulate a leadership vision for themselves as emerging Jewish leaders. As a means of this exploration, Fellows participated in reading, conversation, and content creation. In our time together, Fellows read sections from a variety of books including, The Jew Within, The Jewish Community Study of New York, The Purpose Driven Church, The Power of Moments, and Jewish Megatrends. Our research allowed Fellows to begin to better predict the sociological trends of Judaism in the post-modern age.
Fellows also were mentored in the development of meaningful, content-rich programs. In smaller groups, Fellows also endeavored to produce content-rich Jewish programs for the Y. Fellows focused on the following four demographics: parents/young families, elementary aged students, 20s/30s, and seniors. Programmatic highlights included an expansion of our PJ Library Program to include take home activities for the family and enhanced adult education material, weekly Jewish programmatic material for the Y’s Be Me afterschool program, an expansive 20s/30s initiative including community making opportunities, and a multi-generational project aimed at connecting seniors and non-seniors.  
Finally, given the current reality and limitations due to COVID-19, Fellows collaboratively gave thought to how to craft Rosh HaShanah practices and engagement outside of classic synagogue prayer-based services. As such, the Machar Fellows worked towards developing take-home materials to be shared with the community with the goal of increasing home-based rituals during a time when classic synagogue-based observances will be more difficult to access. The Machar Summer Fellowship served 11 Fellows.
Manhigut Institute: A Summer Leadership Internship
The Manhigut Institute, generously funded by UJA-Federation was designed to offer high school students enhanced leadership skills and employment during the summer.  For five weeks, Interns served as weekly counselors-in-training (CITs) at the Y’s virtual summer camp, Summer in the Cloud; further developed professional skills, including budgeting, public speaking, and program design; and collaboratively crafted social action based initiatives for the benefit of the larger community. The issues chosen by the Interns were racial justice, environmental justice, gun violence, and education reform.  Over the course of our program, we crafted a four-part film series to be shown in October. The film series is aimed at raising consciousness around the issues chosen by our teens and adding a call-to-action of inviting participants to contact their local representative towards a legislative end. The Manhigut Institute served 17 teens. 
Bubbie’s Kitchen Challah Bake
Regularly throughout the summer, the Alexander Jewish Center served as the host for the popular Y program, Bubbie’s Kitchen. Led by Instructor Cyndi Rand, Bubbie’s Challah Bake served multi-generational participants, offering participants the opportunity to learn and bake their own challot for use during Shabbat. Intertwined within the program are community forming opportunities and educational moments that go beyond the physical crafting of challah.
Ukulele Shabbat
Ukulele Shabbat has been a staple of the Y’s Jewish programming for the past five years. Each Friday, more than 50 grandparents, parents, and young children join together to sing, dance, and welcome in Shabbat. With the onset of COVID-19 limitations, Ukulele Shabbat seamlessly transitioned from an in-person to a virtual model. Though we look forward to a return to the in-person experience, the virtual model has allowed for enhanced participation from families away from the neighborhood during the summer, in addition to distant grandparents and friends. Ukulele Shabbat engages young families in Jewish song and community. 
Y Values
The Norman E. Alexander Center for Jewish Life, along with program directors and staff from both internal and external Y programs, began a collaborative project to define a specific educational and programmatic theme for the year, along with highlighted monthly values.

• September: Peoplehood
• October: Loving-kindness
• November: Gratitude
• December: Family
• January: Justice
• February: Human Dignity
• March: Freedom
• April: Remembrance
• May: Honor
• June: Pride
• July: Growth
• August: Friendship

Under the auspices of the Norman E. Alexander Center for Jewish Life, the Y recently worked with community partners to expand the Washington Heights and Inwood eruv to include the Y. An eruv is essential to traditionally observant Jews, as it allows for the carrying of items, including keys, books, and even children, outside of the home on Shabbat. By expanding the eruv to include the Y, Shabbat-observant Jews can now access the Y building during the course of Shabbat.


For more information, please contact the Y's Norman E. Alexander Center for Jewish Life Director Rabbi Ari Perten at aperten@ywashhts.org.