Monday, January 20, 2014

Tu B'Shvat with the Park Rangers!

"Planting a tree is like raising children. When we plant a young tree , we nurture it to grow to be strong and healthy, just like our children" Pamela S. Nedav,  L'Mazeltov: Your Personal Guide to Jewish Childbirth Education (

The Y celebrated Tu B'Shvat yesterday with the PJ Library and Central Park Ranger Mara Pendergrass.

Tu B'Shvat is known as the Jewish Arbor Day. Literally the name means "the 15th day of (the Hebrew month of) Shvat". This date acts as a reassurance that the harsh winter months were finally coming to an end and that spring was around the corner.

In following with the ancient tradition to celebrate this day with planting, families planted kidney beans in coconut growing medium, studied tree bark, discussed the Park ecosystem,  and joined together as one unit to create parts and sounds of a live tree. There was fresh herb salad prepared with raisins and seasonings,  hummus with a variety of natural chips and an assortment of Tu B'Shvat dried and fresh fruits and vegetables. Children also examined pepper seeds and "planted" them in cups prepared with moist sponges. We ended the day with a book reading of Pearl Moscowitz's Last Stand, a truly meaningful and humorous PJ Library Tu B'Shvat book. A great time was had by all!

-Cyndi Rand, Jewish Program Coordinator and PJ Library Coordinator 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Broadway visits the Y

In December, the Y was paid a very special visit. Erin Jackman, Executive Director of the Brooke Jackman Foundation, brought Kimberly, a performing artist from the Screen Actor's Guild (SAG), to visit the children of our Literacy Program. Kimberly recently was on tour with the popular Broadway show Book of Mormon. Kimberly read and performed several favorite books of the children. At the end of the program, the Jackman Foundation donated brand new books to each Literacy Program family.
This event is the beginning of a partnership between the Y's Literacy Program and SAG's and bookPALS. BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools) is a national program to help children learn to love books by bringing the talents of performer volunteers into classrooms, hospitals, shelters, and other venues.

Would you like to meet an actor or actress? Performing artists will be joining our Literacy Program director Andrea at local schools for classroom readings through the bookPALS program. Make sure to join our free Literacy Program so you can take part in exciting events like these. The program is completely free with no registration required and free dinner available to all. Sign up today!