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Gan HaMishpacha Family Center
A Family Center Embracing Children, Families, and Caregivers Through the Early Years

"There are many ways to make a family." -- Parent Group Participant

Starting and raising a family is one of life’s greatest joys. With this joy and responsibility comes the need for support and community; we invite you to join us. Our new Family Center is a home for parents, children, and caregivers. We aim to create a safe space for exploration, discussion, and growth by focusing on the entirety of the family using the familiar Adas Israel values of shalom bayit (domestic harmony), mishpacha (family), kavod (respect), k’hillah (community), and ahavah (love). Contact Darci Lewis, MA, DONA PCP, CLC, Gan Senior Educator & Director, Gan HaMishpacha, for additional information.

Our Spaces

Family Center, Room 217
Gather here for parent groups (e.g., our prenatal and postpartum groups) and other areas of support. This room is designed to have a "living room feel," to allow for adult conversation while staying child-friendly.

Playgroups, Room 216
Engage with our educators and other families for adult-and-me classes, including infant play and other Kangaroo classes. This room is specifically tailored to our youngest children.

Family Library, Room 215
Explore our expansive 6,000+ book collection. This lending library enhances the experience of each Gan classroom and will be available for families to peruse on their own. 


Gan HaMishpacha will follow a seasonal calendar:
Prenatal groups will follow an abbreviated schedule

Spring 2024: April 1 through May 31
There will be no programming on the following dates in holiday observance - April 22-30 - Passover - May 27 - Memorial Day

Weekly Groups: 

Tuesdays, 9:30-10:30am (May 7, 14, & 21) - Prenatal Support Group Led by Darci Lewis in Room 217

Wednesdays, 9:30-11:00am - Kangaroo Class Led by Michelle Shoham in Room 215 (Gan Library)

Wednesdays, 10:00-11:00am - Postpartum Parent Group Led by Darci Lewis in Room 217

Thursdays, 9:30-10:15am or 10:30-11:15am - Shir a Song with Ms. Ellie Led by Ms. Ellie in Funger Hall

Our Classes, Programs, and Opportunities
2023-2024 Registration Now Open!

Havurah Cohort Program 
Click here to register for the 2023-2024 Havurah Program

Click here for more information the schedule for the 2023-2024 Havurah Program. Please email Darci Lewis with questions about the Havurah Program.

A havurah is a friendship group between families, a tight-knit k'hilla (community). Our Havurah program is designed to connect famlies with children of similar ages so they can move through their early years at Adas together. Families who participate in any Gan program, school, or class are invited to join!

Prenatal Support & Birth Education
Led by Darci Lewis
Click here to register for Prenatal Support & Birth Education Meetings
Darci Lewis will be hosting a Prenatal Support Group on May 7, 14, & 21 from 9:30am-10:30am. If you are interested, please submit the form linked above.

Prenatal Support & Birth Education Meetings are designed for parents who are preparing to welcome a baby into their family. These points of connection focus on the preparatory stage, what to expect after your baby arrives, and everything in between. The meetings create a supportive relationship between the expecting parent(s) and Darci Lewis, DONA PCP & CLC. Both first-time parents and parents with more than one child are encouraged to participate, and all questions are welcome. Darci tailors the content and conversations to the individual needs of the expectant family. Prenatal Support & Birth educations are three week sessions that lead into the Gan HaMishpacha Postpartum Group.

Postpartum Group 
Wednesdays, 10am-11am, Led by Darci Lewis
Click here to register for Spring 2024 Postpartum Groups
Click here to register for Summer 2024 Postpartum Groups

These groups are for families who have just welcomed a baby into their family. There will be opportunities for discussions around all things postpartum as well as time for practical questions and answers. We will create an intentional community, a safe space for sharing and discussion, and provide practical, applicable information that can ease the experience of life with a new baby.

At Home Postpartum Visit
Schedule an at home Postpartum Support Visit with Gan HaMishpacha Director, Darci Lewis.  Darci is a postpartum doula and lactation consultant, and happily visits the homes of Gan HaMishpacha families in their earliest postpartum days.  During the 1.5 hour visit, Darci checks-in on the well being of parents, baby, and siblings.  She provides guidance, support, and reassurance during this exciting and overwhelming time in the life of a young family.  Home visits are available on select Tuesdays at 9am; registration cost is $150/members $200/non-members. Please email Darci Lewis directly ( to schedule this appointment.

Lifecycle Events 

After your baby joins the family, introduce them to the Jewish people! Visit this page to find out more about baby namings, brit milah, and kiddush celebrations at Adas Israel Congregation. Adas's clergy and ritual teams look forward to welcoming your new addition!

Kangaroo Series: 
Wednesdays, 9:30 - 11am
Click Here to register for 23-24 Kangaroos

Our Kangaroo class series brings children and their adults (parents or caregivers) together with our educators to create a loving, warm group space. Children benefit from the presence of a secure attachment with their parent or caregiver while at the same time being introduced to new materials, play-ideas, and class routines. Kangaroo classes begin as a child's first exposure to intentional socialization; as children grow the class becomes an ideal stepping-stone into Gan HaYeled or other preschool experiences.

Age ranges are approximate and refer to the child's age by September 30, 2023. Your child would continue in the same group for the 2023-2024 school year.

Shir a Song Music Class with Ms. Ellie
Thursdays, 9:30 - 10:15am or 10:30 - 11:15am
Click Here to register for Shir a Song

These classes for children and their grown-up(s) aim to fuse popular secular songs with fun Shabbat and Jewish holiday songs. We use finger plays, instruments and other props, dance and movement to create a lively, musical community for the 45 minutes of class, enabling you to expose your little one to a rich variety of rhythms and sounds. You will also leave class with a repertoire of songs – both Jewish and secular – that you and your child can continue to sing together, long after class is over! You do NOT need any Jewish background or any Hebrew knowledge to participate — just bring your enthusiasm and your singing voice and your dancing feet! 

The Power of Play: An Intergenerational Playgroup

Gan HaMishpacha and Dr. Alison Chrisler, a professor at American University, are working in collaboration to facilitate and support a playgroup that brings together children from the Gan HaYeled preschool and Adas Israel members who are 60 years and older. This is our second cycle of the Intergenerational Playgroup, with the first occurring in the Summer of 2023.  Through the support of Gan families and participation of students, we are able to provide this important and exciting opportunity.  The Intergenerational Playgroup has many goals, with the greatest being living and embracing the Jewish Value of kibud zekaynim—honoring the elderly.

The playgroup sessions are held weekly, with a focus during this cycle on STEM--science experiments! During the playgroups, the children and their seniors will be hosting "labs." Children will be wear lab coats and do science experiments that range from making volcanos to dissecting owl pellets!  This opportunity is open to Adas Members and Gan students.  For more information please contact Gan HaMishpacha Director, Darci

Kabbalat Shabbat for Families with Young Children 

Join Rabbi Kerrith Solomon, Adas musicians, and other families for our joyous and musical Kabbalat Shabbat service -- together.

2023-2024 Kabbalat Shabbat dates coming soon!

Meet the Gan HaMishpacha Team

Learn more about our team here!

"Parenting is being ready and present for the today." -- Parent Group Participant

Gan HaMischpacha is one leg of your family's Jewish journey at Adas Israel Congregation. Continue with us through Gan HaYeled Preschool, the Estelle and Melvin Gelman Religious School, B'nai Mitzvah celebrations,
and beyond. 


Mon, May 20 2024 12 Iyyar 5784