Jewish Baby Network Helps a New Mom Reconnect with Her Roots and Find Her Community
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Karina Rosinzonsky came with her parents to the U.S. from the former Soviet Union when she was ten years old. At the time, her parents reached out to the Legal Services department of Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) for help obtaining green cards and resettlement, but that would only be the beginning of Karina and her family’s journey with JFCS and the surrounding Jewish community of the San Francisco Bay Area 


A Hidden Identity in the Former Soviet Union 

Growing up, Karina’s parents never explained to her that they were Jewish, but she was aware that she and her brother—who was often a target for bullying in school—were different from the other kids. It wasn’t until she came to the United States, was enrolled in Hebrew Academy, and began volunteering with her parents at Congregation Chevra Tilam in San Francisco that Karina began to explore her Jewish identity. 


A Jewish wedding taking place under a huppah.

Karina and Edward Rosinzonsky were married under a handmade huppah featuring photos of family members with long, happy marriages. Both emigrated from the former Soviet Union as children and moved to the Bay Area.

A Caring Companion in the Hospital 

As an adult, years later, Karina met her husband, Edward—himself an agnostic Jew from the former Soviet Union— and became pregnant with a little girl. When baby Emma was born, doctors discovered she had multiple heart defects and that she would need to spend time in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit).  

While Emma was being cared for, Karina was visited by a hospital chaplain who, though not Jewish herself, was able to comfort her. The two of them talked and even shared Shabbat together. A few days later, the chaplain returned to meet the baby and brought with her a welcome bag of supplies and resources for new Jewish mothers. Among the materials included in the bag was a postcard for JFCS’ Jewish Baby Network (JBN) 


A woman sits on a picnic blanket with her newborn baby. It's a sunny day at the park.

Karina with newborn Emma at her first Jewish Baby Network event in Palo Alto.

A Friendly Meeting in the San Francisco Bay 

JBN is a JFCS program for new or expecting parents of children from ages newborn to thirty-six. According to the program’s Director, Carol Booth, “JBN connects new parents to a network of community members and helps them nurture their roots at a time when it’s needed most. It’s common for new parents to feel isolated and overwhelmed; JBN supports parents through this transition by providing friendship, resources, and community.”  

Seeking support from her community after Emma was out of the hospital, Karina brought her baby to her first Shabbat in the Park—a weekly JBN gathering for families to meet with their babies and toddlers for an afternoon of activities and conversation. It was there Karina began her journey with JFCS. 


A woman w=poses with a one-year-old baby in a tutu.

Karina and Emma at Emma’s first birthday party—fully recovered from her open-heart surgery.

A New Connection in the Jewish Community 

At Shabbat in the Park, Karina developed a friendship with JBN Director, Carol Booth, who introduced Karina to other families, some of whom also spoke Russian. Karina recalls that was when she started to truly embrace the group and reconnect with the Jewish community:  

“It was nice to feel so welcome and to feel that kind of connection again that up until then wasn’t happening as much for me, “Karina says, “It was also important to me to continue introducing my daughter to some of these traditions, stories, and songs.” 

Eventually, Emma would get old enough to “graduate” from JBN, but Carol insisted that Karina stay involved in the program, ultimately inviting her to volunteer on the JBN Board of Advisors. While helping with JBN, Karina also met with other mothers whose infants were diagnosed with heart complications and was able to share her experience and reassurances with the worried parents.  


A woman poses with a toddler holding a teddy bear against a white backdrop.

Karina and Emma at a JBN event for Tu Bishvat in 2020.

An Intergenerational Legacy of Volunteering 

When Karina’s parents brought her and her brother to the United States, they nurtured the spirit of volunteerism—teaching them to make a gift of their time at the local synagogue. As an adult, Karina began volunteering with JBN, and now she spends time each week sorting donations at the JFCS Food Bank.

Now that Emma is a bit older, Karina has even begun teaching her to help at JBN events and other community opportunities, perhaps down the line getting her involved in YouthFirst, JFCS’ service-learning program for Jewish teens.  

A man poses with his small child in his arm.

Emma strikes a pose with her dad, Edward.

Through her experiences with JBN and through volunteering opportunities, Karina found comfort in challenging times while forging meaningful relationships and deepening engagement with her Jewish identity. As she continues her work as a volunteer and passes down the values of service and community involvement to her daughter, Emma, Karina embodies her family’s legacy of giving back and is a testament to the enduring importance of intergenerational bonds within the Jewish community.   




Looking to Join or Support the Community?  

Please visit to learn more about the Jewish Baby Network, find out about volunteer opportunities, or donate to help new families! 

Posted by Admin on February 22, 2024