Meet the Henkel-Forter Family of El Sobrante

PJ Library® Family of the Month

After a decade of living in Berkeley, the Henkel-Forter family currently lives in El Sobrante. Allison (Mommy) and Mel (Mama) have found an inclusive and welcoming community at Temple Sinai in Oakland and love the various activities that they provide. Allison grew up in an interfaith household while Mel grew up in a non-religious family, and together they appreciate that Temple Sinai exposes their family to new traditions and practices, like Tu B’Shevat. In February they attended a family Tu B’Shevat Seder that inspired them to host their own for family friends, and even planted parsley that grew in time for Passover!

Allison, Hudson (2), and Mel

Their son Hudson (age 2) attends the Temple Sinai David Pregerson Preschool (TSDPP) where they are thrilled to have him in a school guided by Jewish values. Hudson uses his PJ Library Tzedakah box to reinforce the classroom’s practice with their “Tzedakah Dinosaur.” Hudson loves so much about TSDPP, including “Practice Shabbat” which includes music and dancing, Sababa Shabbat services (which his nearby grandparents join the family for), and the Purim carnivals. The family also enjoys attending Tot Shabbat at Urban Adamah.

Allison, Mel, and Hudson love music and are big fans of local favorite, Isaac Zones. Allison says, “wherever we can see Isaac Zones, we’ll go!” While sheltering in place, the family is enjoying joining Isaac online through Camp Tawonga’s virtual Shabbat Song Sessions. Since participating in these song sessions, the family looks forward to attending Camp Tawonga in the future. Hudson was even inspired to perform in the camp’s virtual Talent Show (check out his Ukulele act at minute 21!).

PJ Library has had a positive impact on the whole family, and Allison shares that “being an interfaith family, PJ Library books help us learn more about traditions that we aren't all familiar with.” Take Care is one of the family’s all-time favorites. They received it when Hudson was a baby and it is still in the bedtime reading rotation. Allison says that they love that the book sparks conversations about “the animals and colors and taking care of our world and each other.” The family also really enjoyed a recent Passover book, featuring one of their favorite animals. Alligator Seder takes place in Allison’s home state of Florida making this a delightful and personal story.

PJ Library® sends free Jewish books and music on a monthly basis to children ages 6 months through 8 years of age throughout the Bay Area. Learn More

If you would like to be featured as our Family of the Month, simply fill out this form and we will be in touch!

Categories: Kids & Families


May 19, 2020