(File photo)
(File photo)

$788k for early Jewish childhood programs around the Bay

With an eye toward Jewish children and their families, the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation has announced grants totaling $788,000 for organizations that are working with the smallest members of the community — kids up to age 3.

It’s a way to help families from diverse backgrounds, many of whom may not be connected to Jewish life, find community and meaning in Jewish spaces, according to a Federation statement.

The two-year grants are seed funding for innovative programs at local Jewish nonprofits and institutions. For example, the Peninsula-based Jewish Baby Network will use its $163,000 grant over two years to begin a program for parents in their 20s to mid-30s, one that welcomes families and aims to create Jewish group experiences fueled by social media.

The Kitchen, an indie Jewish community in San Francisco, will be getting $150,000 to start Playground Communities, which are neighborhood-based micro-communities led by a Jewish educator to help young families create Jewish life together.

Congregation Sherith Israel is getting $150,000 to start Sherith Israel Littles, an initiative designed to engage Jewish families through accessible events, small groups and Jewish home practice.

InterfaithFamily in Marin is getting $20,000 to pilot “Live. Love. Learn,” a four-part series for new interfaith parents on how to infuse Judaism into daily life.

The remaining grants are $110,000 to the Peninsula JCC in Foster City (for a drop-in center in its preschool that aims to foster connections and offer programming), $105,000 to Berkeley-based Wilderness Torah (for communal family programming) and $70,000 to Chabad of Petaluma (for hands-on programs, events and support for young families).

“New parents starting a family are actively seeking community and meaning, and our Jewish tradition has so much to offer them,” Laura Lauder, chair of the Federation’s endowment committee, said in the press release. “The Federation is thrilled to invest in new approaches to connecting early-stage families to Jewish life in the Bay Area by supporting this cohort of accessible Jewish programs designed to build relationships and communities among families.”