Harlem Hebrew Language Academy Event and Tours – sign up now for Jan. 30th

I have known students and teachers at these schools.  The creation of these schools is a huge step in a new direction for community building, dual language curriculum and forward thinking leadership. I am happy to help promote this opportunity to learn more:

Harlem Hebrew Language Academy Charter School is a unique public school option in school district 3.  Now serving grades Kindergarten through 5th, Harlem Hebrew is a dual-language school, which serves students of all backgrounds.  The school’s aim is to provide rigorous education while teaching students Modern Hebrew and all about Israel.  Harlem Hebrew offers engaging academic curriculum, daily Hebrew classes, music, chess, dance, gym and art.  If you are interested in learning more about the school, come join on January 30 at 6:15 pm for a fun family event in honor of Hebrew New Year of the Trees.  You can also sign up for a school tour: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdDDX7xrWzx5uPDTlPDZhcnwze9S7Kspg6mGhNN6juZ_oUYiQ/viewform.

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Big Apple Circus is back in NYC!

screenshot.pngWhen my kids saw the Big Apple Circus tent being built again in Lincoln Center, they begged to see the show!  After all of us being so sad about the news that it was shutting down, the sight of the big, blue tent was the topic among their friends for weeks!

We just went to see the circus.  They said it was the BEST show they’ve ever seen there.  It was a funny thing to hear since we recognized many of the same performers as in years’ past.  The seating was the same, the format was pretty much the same… but perhaps the thought of almost losing the circus made this year feel that much more special!

Grandma was a new addition for us.  They cracked up during the silly water scene with Grandma.  We also went with our dear family friends who have a child with autism.  The Big Apple Circus has, historically, offered special shows for children with a variety of special needs.  Seeing the circus while watching him made the acts that much more special.  The slapstick humor of the water being thrown from one clown to the next and his reaction to it made me – all the adults – laugh that much more!  I highly recommend taking children of all ages and all perspectives to see this show.  We were left wanting more.

The show is running at Lincoln Center now through January 7th. It’s the 40th season of the Big Apple Circus.  Celebrating that milestone and knowing that the Big Apple Circus almost ended for us is a grand reason to go and show your support.  The children – and their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, can make this a tradition that will continue.  The fact that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®  circus is no longer performing for audiences proves that there is a threat that this is an end of an era of circus performances.  Maybe there are politics… and maybe there are opportunities for smiles and appreciation for the simple things in life.

All the seats are great! I suggest getting there early so you can see the ornate cossets they have on display in a “museum” on your way into the tent.  It was hard to choose our favorite costume – and our favorite act. They kept us on the seat of our chairs as we were rooting for them to execute their difficult acts.  Sometimes they didn’t do it – which made us love it event more.  They are talented and they are human.  We cheered them on to try again and that made the experience relevant for us and the kids.  We all have to practice, like the performers, to get better at anything we attempt.  Sometimes we fail but we try, try again.  It was such a memorable year to be at the Big Apple Circus. I highly recommend you make it a tradition with your family as it is with ours!


Tickets are now on sale at www.BigAppleCircus.com. The regular performance schedule is Wednesdays at 11am & 7pm ; Thursdays at 7pm; Fridays at 11am, 3pm & 7pm; Saturdays at 11am, 3pm & 7pm; and Sundays at 11am & 3pm. The calendar is on the website. Special holiday week schedule changes are: from Monday, December 25 – Wednesday, December 26, performances are at 12pm & 4pm; Thursday, December 28 & Friday , December 29 at 12pm & 7pm; Saturday , December 30 at 12pm & 4pm; Sunday, December 31 at 12pm & 9:30pm. The ticket range is $35 – $150 VIP Ringside tickets.

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Lag B’Omer Block Party! May 14


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Recycle your Christmas trees into wood chips and more volunteer opportunities

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January 2017 – New York

MulchFest 2017 – TreeCycle!

City of New York Parks & Recreation

Date/Time: Saturday and Sunday, January 7 and 8, 10am – 2pm. You can bring your tree to a chipping location on January 7th or 8th, or to a drop-off location anytime between Saturday, December 31 and Sunday, January 8. The NYC Department of Sanitation will also be conducting special curbside collections for mulching and recycling of Christmas trees from Tuesday, January 3 through Saturday, January 14.

Location: Click here to find a chipping or drop off location near you.

Join the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of Sanitation, and GreeNYC to recycle your Christmas trees into wood chips. These wood chips are used to nourish trees and plants on streets and gardens citywide. More than 30,000 trees were recycled last year. Please remember to remove all lights and ornaments before bringing your tree to a MulchFest site.

Ages: Everyone is welcome to participate

Time Commitment: Varies

Contact: www.nycgovparks.org/highlights/festivals/mulchfest

Learn more about

helping the earth
Outreach, Serve at a Soup Kitchen or Food Pantry, Advocacy

Hunger Free America

Date/Time: Friday, January 13 through Sunday, January 16, Martin Luther King Weekend

Location: Various locations throughout New York City

Hunger Free America is partnering with agencies throughout New York City to offer a variety of volunteer opportunities for our 2017 Weekend of Service. Check out HungerVolunteer.org for volunteer opportunities–we’ll be adding more over the next few weeks.

Ages: Everyone is welcome to participate

Time Commitment: Two to four hours

Contact: Rebecca Ligrani, rligrani, 646.553.1547

MLK Weekend Volunteer Projects

Volunteer New York!

Date/Time: Friday, January 13th through Monday, January 16th

Location: Various locations throughout Westchester

Volunteer New York! Is a Westchester-based organization that encourages volunteerism and supports local nonprofit organizations.

Volunteer projects include:

  • Packing diapers for families in need
  • Making birthday boxes and cards for children
  • Serving meals
  • Paint therapy for seniors
  • And many others

Ages: Everyone is welcome to participate. Individual projects may have separate age restrictions.

Time Commitment: Varies depending on project

Contact: 914.948.4452. Browse the Volunteer New York! 2017 MLK Day Volunteer page for projects and registration information

MLK Weekend of Service Family Art Project: A Hand in Freedom

NYC Parks Department – Partnership for Parks

Date/Time: Saturday and Sunday, January 14 and 15, 10 am – 1 pm. This event is free, and admission to the grounds is free until noon.

Location: Wave Hill House, West 249th Street & Independence Ave., Bronx

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, consider his powerful message of justice and freedom. Participants will trace hands on fabric to cut out and then layer and paste on muslin. Use fabric markers and sprays to embed messages and quotes that speak out for kindness to all. Add to your design with bits of cloth, yarn and felt and lots of freedom.

Ages: Everyone is welcome to participate

Time Commitment: Varies

Contact: www.nycgovparks.org/events/mlk-day-of-service

Serve a Hot Meal

Repair the World (in partnership with Mandala Café)

Date/Time: Monday, January 16, noon – 2 pm or 6 – 8 pm

Location: All Souls Church, 88 St. Nicholas Avenue, New York

Mandala Café founder Daiken Nelson has been cooking and serving hot meals on W. 116 St. and Adam Clayton Powell every Wednesday evening for 75-150 people for years. Repair the World hopes to serve upwards of 300 people for a lunch and dinner shift on MLK Day, when children are out of school and hot meals are needed.

Ages: Everyone is welcome to participate

Time Commitment: Two hours

Contact: timeforgood_help. Registration is available online

MLK Day of Service – various activities to benefit neighbors in Brooklyn

Repair the World (in partnership with Met Council, Union Temple and UJA Federation of New York)

Date/Time: Monday, January 16, 10 – noon or 12:30 – 2:30 pm

Location: Union Temple, 17 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn

  • Assembling winter accessory packets
  • Refreshing supplies for children in local schools
  • Packing food for those experiencing food insecurity
  • Preparing materials for outreach about SNAP benefits

Ages: Everyone is welcome to participate

Time Commitment: Two hours

Contact: timeforgood_help. Registration is available online

Learn more about

how to help fight poverty
Winter Package Delivery


Date/Time: Sunday, January 29, 10:00am

Location: The home of a senior – typically Upper East or Upper West Side

Brighten the day for a senior! Participate in Dorot’s Winter Package Delivery, bringing a package of food and treats to one of Dorot’s senior clients. Volunteers will visit and chat with the senior for about an hour.

Ages: Everyone is welcome to participate

Time Commitment: Two hours

Contact: Shelley Levine, 917.441.5051

Intergenerational Chess

Dorot – Intergenerational After School Programs

Date/Time: Mondays, January 30 – May 15, 4 – 5:30pm

Location: Dorot, 171 West 85th Street

DOROT offers intergenerational programs for youth of varying ages to connect with older adults. Interacting with older adults enables youth to develop communication skills, positive attitudes toward aging, and a sense of purpose and community. Students in 6th – 12th grades and older adults play chess together, share their love of the game and help build intergenerational connections across the chessboard.

Ages: Students in grades 6 – 12

Time Commitment: Each session is an hour and a half

Contact: Shelley Levine, 917.441.5051

Host a PJ and Book Drive!

Pajama Program

Date/Time: Flexible

Location: Your home or location of your choosing

Pajama Program is a nonprofit that provides new pajamas and new books to children in need through a nationwide network of service agencies. Winter is considered the “danger season” for children in shelter and temporary housing.

Consider hosting a Pajama Party or Book Drive for your child’s next Birthday!

  • Invite your guests to a Pajama Party (or any theme party).
  • In lieu of gifts, ask guests to bring a new pair of pajamas or a new book to donate to Pajama Program.
  • Pajamas should be new/unused and a complete set or nightgown.
  • Decide on an age range to collect (all ages, infant, children to age 5, children 6 – 12, teens, etc.)
  • Posters, signs and brochures can be used for invitations or to decorate the party space, and may be downloaded from the Pajama Program website.
  • Once your drive is complete, report the donation to the Pajama Program through the link on the website.
  • Pajama Program cannot provide pickup service for donations. However, within seven days they will contact you with an organization in your area that would love to take your donation. They will give you the contact name and number to arrange for a convenient time for you to drop it off.

Ages: Everyone is welcome to participate

Time Commitment: Varies

Contact: 212.716.9757

Monday, January 16th is Martin Luther King Day of Service

“Everybody can be great because everybody can serve”

Monday, January 16th is a school and bank holiday to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Instead of just making it a day OFF, make it a day ON and consider participating in a service project with your family. Many organizations provide tips, resources and hands-on opportunities to begin a conversation about social justice around the Holiday.

Visit the following sites for more ideas:



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DIY Kindness Journal
Doing Good Together

Date/Time: This is a great project to begin in the New Year, but you can start anytime.

Location: Your home

Keeping a compassion-themed journal is a wonderful way to build kindness into busy weeks and shine a spotlight on acts of kindness. Plus, you’ll have a place to record family volunteering memories! Decorate a composition notebook with duct tape. Scatter compassion-themed prompts and quotes throughout it. Then make time periodically to discuss, draw, and write about those kindness prompts as a family. Visit the Doing Good Together DIY Kindness Journal page to find printable Family Service Memory Sheets, Kindness Journal Prompts, and ideas for keeping your kindness journal.

Ages: Everyone in the family can participate

Time Commitment: We suggest scheduling at least fifteen to thirty minutes each week to discuss the journal prompts and write or draw together.

Contact: mail


New Year’s Resolution Idea: Join Our Membership Circle for just $24.99!

Whether you’re new to family volunteering and want to stay focused on your service goals, or you’ve gotten started but want expert help on how to expand your family’s kindness practice, DGT’s Big-Hearted Families™ Membership Circle is a great way to make 2017 a year of kindness and service! Learn more today, and sign up any time throughout the year.

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If you received this email from someone else and would like to subscribe, please click here.

This list was compiled by Doing Good Together™ (www.doinggoodtogether.org) When calling to volunteer for any of the opportunities listed above, please let the coordinator know you found it through this listing. You are encouraged to ask any questions you may have of the sponsoring organization before committing to a project.
Disclaimer: This list is provided as a service to families. Inclusion of organizations in this listing does not imply affiliation, endorsement or quality assurance on the part of Doing Good Together.™ Doing Good Together™ bears no responsibility whatsoever for the activities and actions of the listed organizations.

© 2016 Doing Good Together™
Doing Good Together, 5141 16th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55417
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SPECIAL EVENT: BASIS Independent Manhattan K-8th Grade Information Session

Thanks to UWS parents Cecily and Josh Schwimmer for caring about new educational options on the UWS.

Wednesday evening, November 16th, we are hosting an informal get together to discuss BASIS Independent a bit further.
The link takes you to the flyer, and you can RSVP directly to the school.
Please join us.
Hardcore snacks and childcare will be provided.
Cecily, Joshua, Scarlett and Jack.


Classroom Learning

Join our Admissions team to learn more about our acclaimed liberal arts program with a STEM focus.

The session will be held on Wednesday, November 16, at 6:30 PM at:

The Larstrand

227 West 77th Street, 3rd Floor Lounge
New York, NY 10024

Please try to arrive 5-10 minutes before the start of the event to ensure timely check-in. Child care will be provided in an adjacent playroom.

We look forward to meeting you!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at: manhattan-admissions@basisindependent.com


The BASIS Independent Manhattan Admissions Team



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St. Agnes Library Next Book Sales: Wednesday, Nov. 16th, 1:00-5:00 PM, and Saturday, Nov. 19th, 12:00-4:00 PM


Next Book Sales: Wednesday, Nov. 16th, 1:00-5:00 PM, and Saturday, Nov. 19th, 12:00-4:00 PM

St. Agnes Branch NYPL
444 Amsterdam Avenue between 81st and 82nd Streets

Interesting new material in all categories

Of Special Note:

All-new selections of CDs and movie DVDs for each day

Large new collections in extended MUSIC and VINTAGE Sections

Special collection of KNITTING magazines!

Huge number of MATH books for teachers, parents, and students

Our gently used books and recordings are all community donated.

Please forward our notices to any of your acquaintances with similar interests.

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Halloween 3D Printing and Intro Sewing

Halloween 3D Printing and Intro Sewing

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Gary Turkel – a husband, father, leader and mensch to be honored


Mike Bloomberg told the story at Gary Turkel’s funeral this morning about the argument in heaven regarding whether to let the most special soul come to the Earth or not. The agreement was to let the soul come to the Earth but be returned to heaven after only a short time. This seems to be the only way to understand how such a mensch, such a blessing to his family and community, could be taken at such a young age, 41.

Family members, friends and Rabbis spoke about Gary and how he lived his life. He lived with intensity and commitment to his Jewish values.  He recently commission a Torah to be written.  Through his legacy at work and home and throughout his many communities, his children will know how to live their lives fully.

After a long hiatus from writing on my blog, I feel moved to write, to honor Gary and his family, Upper West Siders, in a way that makes his short life be a blessing. Those who spoke at his funeral were uplifting and inspiring, including his Brave wife Lesley.  We can be reminded to live our lives fully. We can appreciate the family and friends that we have. We can call, email, text, write letters to those old friends and newer friends. We can find the time in our day, to go out of our way to let others know that they matter and we care. We can pray, in whatever faith we have, in any level of observance, and lead by example. We can listen carefully to our clergy and question them, engaging in thought and being present in mind and body. We can dream about flying and plans beyond the here an now and yet, be grateful for what we have. We can stop, and smell our children, the roses and everything that life offers us as life is precious.  We never know when one day, an accident changes everything.

In the short week that my Mom, my dearest Louisa, was doing all she could to survive, and in the overnight realization that she would not longer live, I learned how a heart can ache, beyond anything I have ever felt before. Hopes and dreams changed forever. Gary’s brother said, so movingly, that Gary will grow old with him and all who he loved so whole-heartedly. For any of us who have lost loved ones know, through stories, recipes, tastes, smells, acts of hesed (loving kindness), we can keep their memories alive and they can grow old with us.

I plan to share the stories I have with Gary’s family throughout our lives and I will continue to think about how honored I, we, all of us are to have special souls and to live our lives as fully as we can.  While he worked hard and long… Gary’s legacy is one that his family can certainly be proud of as he loved and lived as we all wish to live. So many communities, Westside Institutional Synagogue, Lincoln Square Synagogue, the Atlantic Beach community, SAR Academy, Manhattan Day School, Camp Ramah, the JCC, Bloomberg LP, Shomirm, Hatzolah and many, many more that I wouldn’t even begin to know how to name – so many people’s lives have been touched by Gary. The display of love and support on the streets of NYC, literally walking behind Gary’s family up the block and onto his final resting spot, was mind altering for me. May we all find our community and place in this world – to make it a better place.

For all of us who are Dad’s have Dad’s, know Dad’s, give extra love today – Father’s Day.

You can also see the collection of resources I collected after my Mom died in the section at the top of this blog.

Baruch dayan ha-emet (“blessed is the judge of Truth”) for more information about Jewish death and mourning: http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/death-mourning-101/


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Nanny salaries and school choices

If you have not yet signed up the the neighborhood Square, you might enjoy giving it a try!
Look below. Super relevant to our community.

Subject: Here is your Neighborhood Square Daily

Neighborhood Square

Neighborhood Square Beta
Things are happening in your neighborhoods! Here’s what happened today:
efrost1 · Upper West Side

What do you think of the nanny survey results? Do they line up with your experience or expectations?

SURVEY: Many Upper West Side Nannies Earn More Than the Average New Yorker

efrost1 · Upper West Side

What do you make of the shorter waitlists at local schools this year?

Number of Elementary School Waitlists Grows on Upper West Side, Data Show

efrost1 · Upper West Side

Do you think controlled choice could work on the Upper West Side?

UWS Parents Weigh Eliminating School Zoning Lines Through Controlled Choice

efrost1 · Upper West Side

Are you surprised to learn that dinosaurs had feathers and hair?

Climb Inside a Dinosaur’s Nest at the Natural History Museum

Neighborhood Square | 810 Seventh Avenue | New York, NY 10019


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March 2016 New York Family Volunteer Opportunities

This is a fabulous resource to volunteer with our families.
Sign up to receive these email updates directly.

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