March 13, 2017
By Tali Golan-Williams
A family like mine, that’s Israeli and African-American, may not stand out much in New York City, but when my husband Byron and I, and our daughter Naomi, left our families behind, we wanted to find a place where diversity was celebrated. While looking for an after-school program for Naomi, we found our special place at Jewish Kids Groups (JKG).
JKG offered something unique — a Jewish community and a Hebrew school in a different environment that really works for us. I was born in Israel and Naomi is being raised bilingually in English and Hebrew. Byron comes from a Christian background, and his worldview is extremely multicultural. JKG honors our family’s mixed heritage while also giving Naomi a creative and substantial Jewish learning experience. Through songs, games, cooking and holidays, she is embracing Judaism in the most creative way possible.
Byron says that, for him, JKG dispels the myth that Jewish culture is closed and narrow. Through this program we have created a loving Jewish family here in Atlanta. We celebrate holidays with other JKG families. We share potluck Shabbat dinners with them. When our new baby Tamir was born, they delivered meals to us.
When Naomi says the Shabbat prayers, bakes challah, or helps the other kids with Hebrew, it’s an extension of the global values we love. JKG is helping her become a girl with Jewish pride and wonderful confidence. JKG is our family’s kibbutz in Atlanta.
Federation supports Jewish Kids Groups, to strengthen Jewish education and identity.