By Jenna Soroka
(AJNews) – Shalom Baby, a program designed to welcome newborns into the Jewish community and support parents of Jewish families across Canada and the United States, is now in Edmonton! This was made possible by a grant recently awarded to the Jewish Federation of Edmonton (JFED) from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation program, PJ Library. This grant will help bring Shalom Baby to life in the Edmonton area as new (and experienced) parents in the community grow their families.
In mid-July of this year, the program’s kick-off gathering included food, beverages, and an opportunity for parents with babies, aged 0-2, to support one another and share resources as it relates to the journey of parenthood.
“When you go through a life transition, everything kind of reorganizes on some level,” Jennifer Magalnick, Jewish Education and Engagement Specialist for the Jewish Federation of Edmonton, shares. As a mother, Jennifer recognizes the psychological and emotional benefits of connecting with other people going through a similar transition.
In addition to facilitating relationship-building, Shalom Baby Edmonton is designed to connect parents with tools and resources based on their needs with the support of a Parent Connector. This may look like bringing in an expert speaker to talk about navigating postpartum or helping families find a Synagogue that fits their values. Jewish Federation is looking for an enthusiastic parent to fill this part-time role as Parent Connector. If you or someone you know is interested, contact Jennifer at email@example.com.
A common element across Shalom Baby programs is a Welcome Gift Bag or Basket which includes contributions shared on behalf of organizations in the local Jewish community. For instance, as part of Calgary’s welcome gift bag, new parents can expect to receive Calgary Jewish Federation’s Shalom Baby Resource Guide.
“[It] acts as a reference for new parents to re-engage with the community. The Resource Guide provides information on opportunities that they may not have been aware of otherwise, from JCC to synagogues to day cares/day schools, and of course PJ Library and Shalom Baby. The Shalom Baby program itself offers new (and returning) parents the opportunity to connect with each other to share the “joys and oys” of parenting,” explains Calgary’s Jewish Federation Emerging Gen Coordinator, Danielle Braitman.
If you are in Calgary and have not already received a Shalom Baby Gift Bag, email Braitman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 403-444-314.
In Edmonton, the gift basket is currently being organized and will feature items from Jewish organizations, a PJ library baby book and helpful resources. Edmonton parents with new babies can look forward to receiving their welcome gift upon joining the program, sometime in the fall.
Shalom Baby Edmonton’s framework is organic in nature, with the intention of growing a support network for Jewish parents. It focuses on the interests of the group to foster meaningful support through this transformative lifestage. Families of all types are invited to experience this new opportunity in Shalom Baby’s nurturing environment.
Grandparents and other family members are encouraged to contact the Jewish Federation of Edmonton with information about new additions to their families.
The Jewish Federation of Edmonton is excited to help empower parents with babies aged 0-2 moving forward thanks to the financial support of the PJ Library grant.
You can participate in Shalom Baby’s next Edmonton gathering on August 16 by connecting with Jennifer Magalnick at email@example.com.
Jenna Soroka is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Alberta Jewish News.