Special Events

Shamayim Challenge
Wednesday, January 27, 7:00 PM (Next Session)
Tu B’Shvat — Sheva Minim Fruit Salad
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.
Click here to learn more

Description:Bubbie's Kitchen: Challah Bake
Thursday, February 11, 7:00 PM (Next Session)

Bubbie's Kitchen is a place where universal Jewish values are shared, holidays are experienced, foods are tasted, and we learn how mitzvot (good deeds) make our world a better place. Bubbie's Kitchen is a welcoming place, and there's room for all at Bubbie's table.
Click here for registration and ingredients.

Israeli Cuisine @ Home
Tuesday, February 16, 7:00 PM (Next Session)

Join Israeli Emissary Shani Aslan for this fun and delicious cooking series, as she brings traditional and modern Israeli cuisine into your own home. This event is co-sponsored with the Riverdale Y and will take place the third Tuesday of each month, unless otherwise noted. 
Click here for registation and ingredients.
Contact: Shani Aslan, Israeli Emissary, saslan@ywashhts.org

Bubbie's Kitchen: Hamantaschen Baking
Sunday, February 21
More details and registration to come. 

For Parents

My Child and Me: Fostering Positive Values in the Home
Tuesday, February 9, 8:00 PM (Next Session)

Instilling values in our children at an early age is important to help build character. Join us to learn practical steps in fostering moral beliefs and positive behavior based on the Y’s monthly values, like kindness, gratitude, justice, dignity, and more. This event will take place the second Tuesday of each month.
Click here to register with Zoom.
Contact: Rabbi Ari Perten, Norman E. Alexander Center for Jewish Life Director, aperten@ywashhts.org

Ongoing Events and Programs

Ukulele Shabbat (for kids ages 0 - 5 and their families)
​Fridays, 9:30 - 10:15 AM 
Learn More and Register

PJ Library at the Y 2020 - 2021: Sharing Our Stories
Sunday, March 21, 2021
Sunday, May 16, 2021
Learn More and Register
Bubbie's Kitchen 
Thursday, February 11, 7:00 PM
Thursday, March 11
Tuesday, April 6
Thursday, May 13
Thursday, June 10 
Learn More and Register
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. 

The first six months of the Norman E. Alexander Center were 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.