Because of the J: The Gandert Family

Welcome to our new series, “Because of the J.” We’re sharing stories from members of our community about the impact the J has had on their lives. Read more “Because of the J” stories here >>


Providing a Sense of Normalcy in an Uncertain Time

“During uncertain times, the J figured out how to make things safe again, despite the difficulty that surrounds us. I will always be grateful that they have normalized this year in my children’s lives. Thank G*d for the J.”
– Marissa Gandert

When the J’s Early Childhood School first closed in March 2020, the time at home was a blessing for the Gandert family. “We were able to do so much together,” mom Marissa said. “Playing outside, riding bikes, hiking. We even learned how to make a six-braided challah.”

Achshav - Now for the J! Gandert FamilyBut over the course of the year, working from home while managing their two girls, Samara (2) and Bailey (5), became more difficult for Marissa and her husband, Nate. “Both my husband and I work remotely, but the burden for care was removed when we returned to the J in September,” she said.

Having the school open also meant the social and emotional needs of their girls could still be met during this unique time. “Our girls are in such developmentally critical stages right now, having school open means they can continue to make friends and grow.”

Achshav - Now for the J! Gandert Family

The desire for normalcy greatly influenced their decision to send Bailey to kindergarten at the J this past fall. “Even without a pandemic, the J is a gold standard for education. With the pandemic, it far surpasses that. The education they are receiving is top-notch.” The Ganderts are especially pleased that the J’s kindergarten curriculum is far deeper than what they could have provided if they were still schooling Bailey at home.

Marissa and Nate are also grateful for the network of support they found in the J community — a reminder of how valuable friendship, tradition, and community are, especially during this pandemic time.

“The people we’ve met through the J have become very close friends. The teachers treat the children like family,” Marissa said. “We have no family here in Seattle, yet we feel that we have an extended family here at the J.”


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