“I firmly believe grandparents are the catalyst for wanting their grandchildren to be Jewish,” Marcy Bacine said. That led to the creation of Jewish Learning Venture’s jkidphilly Grandparents’ Celebration, a multi-generational fundraiser that’s designed to foster the next generation of Jewish citizens.
When Marcy Bacine became a grandparent for the first time, a realization hit her.
“I firmly believe grandparents are the catalyst for wanting their grandchildren to be Jewish,” she said, noting that many children today grow up in households where only one parent is Jewish, and the Jewish identity often isn’t as strong as in past generations. “It’s a fine line many grandparents walk.”
That led to the creation of Jewish Learning Venture’s jkidphilly Grandparents’ Celebration, a multi-generational fundraiser that’s designed to foster the next generation of Jewish citizens.
The program’s third year will coincide with National Grandparents Day on Sept. 11 with a program at Morris Arboretum that includes musical entertainment, a “story walk,” crafts and other activities. About 200 people have participated in each of the previous programs.
“It’s a little throwbacky to [the concept of] multigenerational families, but it works,” said Rabbi Philip Warmflash, who is the executive director of Jewish Learning Ventures. “The focus on grandparents and grandparents’ celebration has been terrific.”
And in honor of Bacine’s efforts, Jewish Learning Venture will honor her May 17 at its Sixth Annual Celebration.
Susquehanna Growth Equity founder Amir Goldman, whose company invests in software and financial technology, will be the guest speaker at the event, which is slated for 6 p.m. at the Germantown Jewish Centre.
Warmflash said Bacine’s model for the grandparents event has since been replicated in cities elsewhere and is a tribute to her vision.
“She not only pushed us to do it, but she found people to work on it,” he said. “She sees where she can make a difference and goes there.”
Bacine has an extensive history of working to improve the lives of young children that dates to her days at Temple University, where she earned an early childhood education degree.
After teaching in the Philadelphia Head Start program for 12 years, she was named the first director of what became the Terri Lynne Lokoff Early Learning Center. She also was past president of and remains active with the separate Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation, an advocacy organization working for the improvement of child care nationally.
Aside from her service to Jewish Learning Venture — where she is a board member — Bacine has volunteered at the Germantown Jewish Centre, serving as president of the Women’s Club. And she serves as co-chair of the Grants Committee of Women of Vision for the Philadelphia Jewish Women’s Foundation.
Based in Melrose Park, Jewish Learning Venture works with area congregations to adapt to the 21st century in terms of both Jewish education and the Jewish business community, Warmflash said. He indicated that synagogues face a balancing act in keeping their existing members, while adding new ones who often have different expectations of the Jewish religion.
The agency, which partners with the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, serves several thousand people annually and works with more than 40 of the 60 congregations in the Philadelphia area.
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