Supporting Early Childhood Engagement
The JEC is committed to helping families with young Jewish children find multiple ways to become actively engaged in the Jewish community. A community-wide "Opening the Gateway" study process in 2010 helped establish the following goal statements:
- The Cleveland Jewish community should develop mechanisms for identifying and cultivating families with young Jewish children.
- ECE sites and their host institutions should be helped to develop a rich understanding of themselves as gateway institutions to Jewish community involvement for families with young Jewish children, whether these parents are already engaged in Jewish life or are in a “not yet” stage.
- Those who work to support families with young Jewish children should value and support a wider variety of paths to Jewish connection and engagement.
As a response to "Opening the Gateway," the JEC's Early Childhood Steering Committee created Shoresh Grants
. These grants support opportunities for one-time or multiple-sessioned programs targeted to families with children ages 0-5 (the preK year).
In 2019-2020, the JEC initiated a cohort-based pilot program called Families Together, operating in five local congregations.