Born and raised in London, Anat Coleman moved to New York in 2002 to attend Yeshiva University’s Wurzweiler School of Social Work and settled in Washington Heights, which has been her home ever since. Starting with her work for the JCC of Washington Heights and extending to her personal life, Coleman looks for the community’s underserved populations and tries to meet their needs. For her, “it’s all about going local.”
About seven years ago she noticed a large number of young couples moving into The Heights, and sensed they lacked certain resources. Coleman, who believes that “if something is important to you, it should permeate every part of your life,” went to work. One of the first services she offered the young couples was a maternity gemach, or fund that loans objects like strollers, clothes, etc. to families that are expecting. The gemach, which she ran from her own living room without any backing, outgrew her home; Coleman partnered with the JCC, which now maintains it. (Having recently given birth to a boy, she’ll make use of the service herself.)
Coleman also launched the Family Life Committee at the Mt. Sinai Jewish Center, creating babysitting services and mommy mentoring programs for new mothers. Her many roles at both Sinai and the JCC have led her to become a central figure in the Washington Heights community.
Proud to be an American: Coleman and her husband celebrate the anniversary of their American citizenship each year with a special ceremony. It can be seen at ritualwell.org/ritual/celebrating-journey-becoming-american.