The Latest from BZBI

Growing as a Family with Arielle Kerstein

March 29, 2019

As we close the month of March and finish our Congregant Appreciation stories, we want to introduce another amazing BZBI member, Arielle Kerstein, the co-chair of our Early Childhood Parent Association with Jaci Pollock. Though Arielle, her husband Lars, and their two children, Maya and Eli, only joined officially as BZBI members last summer, the Kerstein family has been an active part of the community since Maya, now in Gan (Kindergarten), enrolled in our Early Childhood Program.

Arielle choose the BZBI preschool not only because she knew she wanted to send her children to a Jewish preschool, and she’d heard rave reviews about ours, but also because she saw the strong community that existed in the preschool and in BZBI as a whole and she wanted to be a part of that.

From almost the very beginning, Arielle joined the Early Childhood Parent Association. Through this involvement, Arielle not only felt grounded in the BZBI community but also became an active part of creating it. “I started for the social aspect,” she said, “but it’s so great to see the fruits of your labor, whether it’s a successful fundraiser or a fun community event.” In her more than three years volunteering for the Parent Association, Arielle has built strong friendships and made a positive impact on the community. She’s especially proud of this year’s Sip & Shop fundraiser, a social and successful event which she planned with Hannah Appel, a new member of the Parent Association.

With their oldest child, Maya, in our Neziner Hebrew School, it made sense for Arielle and Lars to make a meaningful commitment to the greater BZBI community. She’s grown to love the sense of welcoming she finds here, where she says she’s found “a group of nice people who care about the community.” As a resident of the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood, she also enjoys how integrated BZBI feels to Center City – she can count on seeing people she knows when she’s at the park or the grocery store.

With Maya graduated from the preschool and Eli already three and a half years old, Arielle is looking at what volunteering will be like beyond the Early Childhood community. It’s still a long way away, but she knows she’s not done contributing to building our community. Even as she helps lead our Parent Association, she’s already started thinking about how to direct her energy in the coming years. We’re looking forward to seeing what she will do!

As we finish Congregant Appreciation month, it’s so great to know that Arielle’s experience as Early Childhood Parent Association co-chair is just the first chapter in her story at BZBI. You can help support a long-lasting community that welcomes new families and helps them grow and learn together through contributing to our Annual CampaignAnd if you are a parent that would like to be a part of creating welcoming school communities at BZBI, you can reach out to Jaci and Arielle in Early Childhood or Jennifer Merves Robbins in the Youth & Family Program.