Each Friday morning, I sit with the exuberant little kiddos of the Yad b’Yad Preschool, singing songs and telling stories to welcome Shabbat. As they clap their hands and stomp their feet, they are weaving the rhythms of Jewish life and the sounds of the Hebrew language into their young souls. They’re full of joy and wonder; it’s a delight to be together.
Although the kids have no idea, Yad b’Yad has, since its inception, functioned wholly within Temple Emanuel’s 501(c)4, our legal designation. As enrollment and expenses have fluctuated over the years, the Temple Emanuel budget has been responsible for shortfalls at the preschool – some of which were not anticipated. The synagogue also contributed to the preschool by providing overhead in many forms. The preschool has been a source of joy and meaning for Temple Emanuel. It has also been challenging to our finances.
In the budget recently approved by both the Board of Trustees and the synagogue membership, Yad b’Yad will be moved off the synagogue balance sheet. Instead, a Limited Liability Corporation (“LLC”) has been created, under the ownership and direction of Tanya Stabinsky, the current director of the school. “Yad B Yad Children’s Center LLC” will operate on the premises of Temple Emanuel, maintaining the holistic dedication to children’s development and Jewish character for which Yad b’Yad is known. It will pay rent to Temple Emanuel.
Throughout the sixteen years of Yad b’Yad’s existence, the synagogue and the preschool have been fundamental aspects of each other. We work in tandem, sharing energy and joy with each other. This will not change.
It is centrally important to us that the legacy of Syndi Scheck, beloved founder of the school, be preserved. She was the driving force behind the creation of Yad b’Yad, a master teacher, and a dear person. Central to the preservation of her legacy is the ongoing strength of the school, including its Jewish character.
In addition, Syndi’s name will be preserved as The Syndi Scheck Preschool, the name for the program for kids aged 3 – 5. A plaque will be inscribed with her name, to be placed at a seating area and rock garden at the school’s soon-to-be refurbished entrance. In addition, we’re creating a Founder’s Corner, where Syndi’s story will be told and photo will appear (along with our current teachers’). It’s deeply important to us that we have the blessing of the Scheck family as we move forward.
Any visitor to the Children’s Center will find a place that is, as ever, full of love, music, and artwork, where children’s growth is guided lovingly. They’d see an infant room that cares for tiny babies. In the start of the next school year, they’ll see new play equipment (indoor and outdoor), new furniture, and a sensory room. They’ll meet a caring, dedicated teaching staff. Yad b’Yad remains a special place for all of us who attended, who sent our kids, and who worked there. We’re all happy that it will continue to serve families in our community for years to come.
Like every child, Yad b’Yad continues to mature. In this next phase, we’re moving from strength to strength.