My husband, Seth, and I grew up in traditional Jewish families. Growing up, we loved celebrating Shabbat and Jewish Holidays. We knew when our son, Ethan, was born that we would strive to ensure that he receive a similar upbringing. I was extremely lucky that when we relocated to the San Gabriel Valley a friend told me about Gan Katan and PJ Library.
Ethan and I attended our first Gan Katan class in September of 2016 when he was only seven months old. Everyone was extremely welcoming and warm and I was very excited to find such a wonderful group of moms, dads and toddlers to spend every other Friday morning with.
Gan Katan always starts with circle time where we sing an upbeat and engaging “hello song.” The class continues with a mix of Hebrew and English songs, story time, which includes a PJ Library book, arts and crafts and a fun activity for the kids.
This past year a few memorable activities included: baking Challah, making menorahs, a picnic at the park, music time with local cantors, and visiting a senior-living facility so the kids and seniors could engage with one another. The class always ends with a pre-Shabbat celebration, which includes the most delicious Challah, and other snacks for everyone to enjoy. The kids love interacting with one another and learning about Jewish traditions through play, songs, and activities.
Besides the class being fun for all, I find that the most fulfilling aspect is belonging to such a caring and warm community. This past year, we have loved seeing the kids grow up with one another. It is really reassuring that both Ethan and I have a group of Jewish friends and a sense of belonging.
We are so grateful that we receive PJ Library books on a monthly basis. Ethan loves reading them with us and has several favorites already! Thank you PJ Library and Gan Katan for bringing the exact Jewish connection we were looking for into our lives! Registration is now open for the fall semester of Gan Katan! Contact (626) 445-0810 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. _
Hadar Cohen is a PJ Library parent.