OFJCC to Pilot Afterschool Program to Space


The OFJCC introduces an innovative program to send kids to space.

April 1, 2017—Palo Alto—In partnership with their neighbors at Loral, Lockheed and NASA, the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto will pilot an afterschool initiative to explore the outer reaches of the galaxy. “As the incubator for new expressions of Jewish identity, the Oshman Family JCC is committed to innovating what it means to be Jewish in space,” says Zack Bodner, CEO. “Does matzah even need to be freeze-dried? How do you make Shabbat relevant lightyears away from a sunset? What does the technology of tomorrow mean for space-based Judaism? These are the kinds of questions we’re tackling.”

The program will support 12 pods with the dual goal of providing an immersive educational experience for school-aged children as well as identifying the Promised Land for a satellite Club J location. “Many parents in the Silicon Valley area have expressed an interest in educational programs for children involving the STEM fields,” says Luba Palant, OFJCC Community Engagement Director. “This is one of the first programs of its kind in existence at any JCC on Earth.”Kid

“The OFJCC benefits from close collaboration with our experienced space exploration partners,” says Dave Rosenfeld, OFJCC Director of Youth and Camp. “We are working with our partners to provide exceptional after school care and realistic pickup options for kids from their family’s home base.” Looking at the physical distance from Planet Earth to the proposed outer space locations, Rosenfeld scratched his head. “Assuming traffic to outer space doesn’t get too much worse over the next few years.”

The OFJCC has already taken steps to make its campus a “third space” by opening the Oasis Play Space, reopening Nourish Cafe and redesigning the Family Center. All of these additions help make the JCC a home away from home. “Now, in space, we can be a true fourth space as well,” says Bodner.

Space exploration participants will need to purchase spacesuits separately.


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Andrea Longini

Written by Andrea Longini

Andrea Longini calls herself the Communications Manager at the OFJCC. She also calls her family long distance in Pittsburgh and her in-laws even longer distance in Belgium. She believes part of living fully is staying in touch with people you care about. An example of how this can be done is by sending them links to meaningful blog posts. Now that's what she calls communicating!

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