Community delivered services for the Orthodox Jewish Community in Springfield Park Neighbourhood
JuMP is an excellent example of the community delivered, place based working that is happening in Hackney. The maternity programme has been especially designed for orthodox jewish mothers by members of the Orthodox Jewish (OJ) community who have previously experienced maternity services which were not able to meet their cultural needs. JuMP was funded by the Sure Start Programme and is today funded by the Children Centre Programme.
Gitit Rottenberg, Manager and educator of JuMP, had her first child in Israel 42 years ago. At the time she couldn’t access culturally appropriate antenatal education, her birth was straightforward but it was traumatic because she wasn’t prepared for the experience and felt vulnerable. Gitit moved to Hackney with her husband and three young children 38 years ago and during her first pregnancy in Hackney Gitit was delighted with the area’s ability to provide antenatal education for the Orthodox Jewish Community. Inspired by local antenatal teacher, the late Hanzy Josovic, Gitit decided she wanted to become an antenatal coach too, for the benefit of the local families.
When the opportunity to train in the expertise came up, following the premature death of Hanzy Josovic, Gitit gained the qualifications she needed alongside a cohort of other Orthodox Jewish women, thanks to a wonderful Hackney Educator Ms Bridget Baker who trained Hanzy and later the new maternity educators. Bridget in conjunction with Mrs Rachel Klein the founder and manager of the Hanzy Josovic Maternity Trust (HJMT) also trained Orthodox Jewish volunteer doulas in five Orthodox Jewish communities around the UK.
A few years later, Gitit met Clinical Psychologist Dr Beth Hill, from First Steps working as part of the Sure start scheme at a Stamford Hill Children’s Centre. Beth was training Health Visitors on supporting perinatal mental health through listening visits. Dr Hill was training Health Visitors when she met Gitit, and the pair agreed it would be great to also train the JuMP antenatal service providers and other volunteers in local Orthodox Jewish Hackney charities who support young families. The training was very successful and the group set up Mothers In Mind Telephone helpline for Perinatal Mental Health support. JuMP and First Steps have worked in partnership ever since that first meeting in 2006!
JuMP now provides the Orthodox Jewish community in Hackney with antenatal & postnatal care, classes, groups and 121 sessions in three languages (Hebrew, English & Yiddish), with JuMP’s antenatal workers available to anyone who wishes to anonymously call them for advice and 121 support. JuMP staff do an enormous amount of emotional and practical labour support, supporting mothers in the birth rooms and even in the Theatre where needed. They are also able to support and educate Orthodox Jewish families struggling with emotional or other disabilities and can be flexible in terms of the space they deliver the support be it in person or virtually.
Speaking with Gitit it’s clear that JuMP staff care for local Orthodox Jewish families through generations of children and remain an integral part of the local community. Not only are JuMP well integrated with local people, their staff link in with local and regional authorities and health services. Gitit was the chair of the Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) In Hackney between 2012-2018 and has been part of other London MVPs such as the Royal Free London and Barnet where there are significant Jewish populations. Gitit chair’s the Maternity Services Strategy Group for Interlink, bringing together maternity services for Jewish people in London and the South East of England to ensure hospitals are having joint discussions on the issues and experiences that Orthodox Jewish women in particular, but all women as a whole, experience to promote an improved approach for the community and all maternity users.
The work JuMP has done to share their learning and the voice of Orthodox Jewish communities across the country is evident through their proactive partnership working. One such example is the advice leaflets that Interlink, JuMP and other Orthodox Jewish Charities created on COVID-19 and Maternity which went viral nationally, demonstrating just how needed this work is. In fact, the Lancet Science Journal has used Interlink, JuMP and local Orthodox Jewish charities partnership working on City & Hackney’s COVID-19 vaccination programme to increase uptake among Orthodox Jewish women as an example of good practice. Gitit shared that this work started in January 2021 when she attended a local COVID-19 immunisation webinar for pregnant families and thought about the pregnant Orthodox Jewish women without the internet who would not receive the important information. Following the meeting Gitit voiced her concerns to the organisers and suggested an alliance between the Orthodox Jewish charities headed by Interlink Organisation and the Health organisation. Shortly after, the Alliance was formed by Interlink. The results were the Information leaflets and Orthodox Jewish Newsletters pieces alongside a well attended in person seminar for the Orthodox Jewish community at a local community premises.
The Neighbourhoods programme would like to commend JuMP and the inspirational leadership taken by Gitit Rottenberg to make this work a reality, staying in partnership with voluntary and statutory services along the way. Gitit noted that Sure Start, although a historical programme, was an excellent opportunity to bring people of different backgrounds together around their families (and of course enabled Gitit to meet Beth in the first place). Gitit is looking forward to seeing what the new Children & Family Hub developments can offer the local community in terms of opportunities to further collaborate and support each other.
JuMP Manager & educator Gitit Rottenberg would like to pay special thanks to Diane Heywood (a local Children’s Centre & Sure Start Manager at the time of this work) and Donna Thomas (Head of Early Years & Early Help) for their belief in JuMP’s work and for their vision and direction which have allowed this work to happen.
Blima Fischman, one of JuMP’s long standing service-provides sums the programme in a few succinct words:
“JuMP aims to help women feel supported through pregnancy and beyond. Helping them to help themselves by educating and empowering them through their journey into motherhood.”