Westside Jewish Community Center offers New Program for Parents-to-be

By Elena Epstein

ParentsThe Westside Jewish Community Center is offering a unique new program for first-time parents. Jewish Baby University is a five-week program combining childbirth education with an exploration of Jewish tradition and rituals, concluding with a family Shabbat dinner. Each session features classes on a different topic, such as medical aspects of pregnancy and childbirth, Jewish traditions and rituals surrounding childbirth, creating a Jewish home, Jewish life in Los Angeles, family financial planning and preparing mentally and emotionally for a child.

“We wanted to create a comfortable entry point for new Jewish families into the L.A. Jewish community, so that they could begin to navigate their way through,” says Lauren Friedman, director of family programs at the Westside Jewish Community Center. “We want to provide participants with their own community of friends who are going through life events at the same time. Jewish Baby University provides a built-in support network that they can share milestones with, ask questions of and turn to in times of need and times of celebration.”

While the program is still new, Friedman says the bonds that have developed among the families are very special. Many of the participants have continued their friendships as they share the joys and challenges of new parenthood.

In partnership with Temple Kol Tikvah in Woodland Hills, Jewish Baby University offers classes in both the city and the valley. The cost for each session is $200 per couple (scholarships are available). For more information, contact Lauren Friedman, 323-556-5202, jbu@westsidejcc.org, www.jewishbabyu.com.

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