Shabbat candle lighting: 6:53pm

JCC Enters New Collaboration with Baltimore Hebrew Congregation's E.B. Hirsh Early Childhood Center

This unique partnership serves as a model for future JCC and Synagogue partnerships

Effective July 1, 2021, our JCC will formally begin a collaboration with Baltimore Hebrew Congregation’s (BHC) E.B. Hirsh Early Childhood Center in which we will provide the E.B. Hirsh Early Childhood Center with day-to-day management services, marketing strategy, and professional development. 

As Barak Hermann, CEO of the JCC of Greater Baltimore explains. “We are confident that the combined talents of the JCC’s and BHC’s professional staff and our proven track record in delivering Jewish early childhood education will enable us to enrich an already strong preschool environment at the E.B. Hirsh Early Childhood Center at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. We are always committed to partnering opportunities where children can learn, explore, and grow!" 

“As two historic Baltimore Jewish organizations, we are excited to work together for the benefit of our youngest generation. The enhanced professional development opportunities will only strengthen the already wonderful staff of the E. B. Hirsh Early Childhood Center and provide opportunities to deepen their skills and perspective, in a meaningful and ongoing manner,” said Rabbi Andrew Busch of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. “Our families and children will not experience a change in our warm and innovative early childhood program. Rather, this collaboration will allow us to flesh out the depth and breadth of our offerings and enable us to weave further together our Jewish and general curricula, while enhancing the fun and challenging day of our students.”

The E.B. Hirsh Early Childhood Center was established in 1988 and currently offers infant care starting at 10 weeks, a toddler program for children ages 18-24 months and a preschool program for children between the ages of two and four. 

The JCC of Greater Baltimore began offering preschool programs at the Weinberg Park Heights JCC in Baltimore City when it opened in 1960 and at the Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC in Baltimore County since its opening in 1978. Due to the pandemic, the JCC decided to temporarily consolidate its program to the Owings Mills location, where they offer an infant/toddler care program (3-24 months) and preschool and kindergarten for ages 2-5. 

Over the past five years, more than 1,500 families have turned to the JCC for an integrated approach to family engagement and early childhood education. The JCC expects that this new relationship with BHC will enhance the JCC’s ability to engage with more young Jewish families in Baltimore while building a strong collaboration with a leading Reform congregation. Not only will is expand the JCC’s early childhood education program, but the goal is to also connect BHC families to other JCC signature programs like J Camps. 

Through this collaborative agreement, the E.B.Hirsh professional staff will benefit from the JCC’s established national early childhood consulting relationships with the JCC Association (JCCA).  

This unique partnership will provide the E.B. Hirsh Early Childhood Center team with expertise from the Sheva Center: Innovation in Early Jewish Childhood Education and Engagement, a signature program of The JCC Association of North America. The Sheva Center empowers and supports teachers and directors throughout North America through its framework of seven core elements that outlines roles and priorities within early learning communities, and its faculty members provide on-site and virtual consultations tailored to the specific needs of each school. 

“We are delighted to welcome the team from the E.B. Hirsh Early Childhood Center to the Sheva Center family and to offer them the same ever-growing array of professional development and support services available to others in our network of vibrant early learning centers across the continent,” said Mark Horowitz, a vice president of program and talent at JCC Association of North America.

“We can all take enormous pride in this collaboration between two leading Jewish institutions in the great Jewish community of Baltimore,” said Doron Krakow, president and CEO of JCC Association of North America. ”BHC and the JCC are joining hands to strengthen the engagement of families with young children, placing them on the path to a lifetime of participation in Jewish community. Its success will be a beacon to others from coast to coast.”

“As a parent, the E.B. Hirsh Early Childhood Center is a very special place to me.  I could think of no greater synergy than a partnership between these two organizations,” said Brett Cohen, Vice President of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation Board. “The JCC brings an incredible record of early childhood education and community development that can only enhance an already thriving and wonderful community at the E.B. Hirsh Early Childhood Center.  This will not only be a great thing for BHC and E.B. Hirsh Early Childhood Center, but we hope it will become a model for JCC/Synagogue partnerships throughout the country.”

The JCC is planning to repurpose the Meyerhoff Early Learning Center space at the Weinberg Park Heights JCC into a family engagement hub with the support of the Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds. As envisioned, the space will be used for drop-in play, Jewish programming, enrichment classes, birthday parties, and more. Much like the JCC’s previous Downtown Baltimore JCC model, there will be a membership or pay as you go option. 

To learn more about the JCC and Baltimore Hebrew Congregation programs visit:  www.jcc.org/elc or https://www.baltimorehebrew.org/ebhirshearlychildhoodcenter/our-program/