Partner Spotlight

PJ LIBRARY’S WORLDWIDE IMPACT ON THE FUTURE OF JUDAISM HAS PROVEN PARAMOUNT TO OUR MISSION. We are very fortunate to be able to support the charities, organizations, institutions, and programs we are passionate about, and we feel that the future of these entities depends, in part, upon us leaving legacy gifts. One of our legacy gifts is to the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, including PJ Library, which is managed by the Federation.

The well-being of children has been a lifelong commitment of ours. When Harold Grinspoon presented his brilliant PJ Library concept to the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation in 2006-2007 as he was seeking partner funders, Elizabeth knew that she wanted to be part of this fabulous opportunity. It is an honor and privilege for her to be one of the mother/grandmother founders of PJ Library in Portland. It is such a loving, subtle, nonintimidating way for parents to educate their children about Jewish identity and tradition, and it is a very special opportunity for all parents to bond with their children. Children are a priority, and PJ Library puts them first. It is a win-win situation.

We are so enthusiastic about supporting PJ Library in perpetuity with our legacy gift, and we hope others will join us on this exciting legacy journey.

Elizabeth and Ruben Menashe

Elizabeth and Ruben Menashe
Portland, Oregon

THE MISSION OF THE ZEFF KESHER FOUNDATION IS TO FOSTER A CONNECTED JEWISH WORLD FOCUSED ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ISRAEL AND WORLD JEWRY. Without active interventions to change a divergent path, we will not be a connected Jewish people. To that end, I support the Jewish Agency for Israel, JEWISHcolorado, my local Federation, and PJ Library. When I moved to Colorado with my 3- and 6-year-olds, it was a dramatic change to come from Israel — where Judaism was just part of the air we breathed — to a place where you need to actively choose to be a Jew. We did not belong to a synagogue in Israel, but in Denver, that was the best way for my children to understand their Jewish heritage. We didn’t have a Federation in Israel, but in Colorado, that was the best link to Israel. That’s where we discovered PJ Library and the ease of connecting to our heritage through amazing books.

Diana Zeff Anderson

Diana Zeff Anderson
Denver, Colorado

OUR FAMILY’S INVOLVEMENT WITH PJ LIBRARY BEGAN WHEN CAROL RECEIVED A PHONE CALL FROM HAROLD GRINSPOON IN WHICH HE DESCRIBED HIS VISION TO BRING PJ LIBRARY TO COMMUNITIES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY. He asked to partner with our foundation, the Isaac and Carol Auerbach Family Foundation, to introduce PJ Library to the Philadelphia community. Since then the foundation has contributed each year, primarily in Rachel’s home community of Seattle through the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle.

In addition, Carol introduced Harold to the OyBaby series, a collection of Jewish-themed music videos for young children created by Lisi and Rob Wolf. These wonderful videos, the second of which features Rachel’s oldest son Jonah when he was a preschooler (he is now 18!), were sent to families in the early years of PJ Library.

Over the years, six of Carol’s grandchildren have benefited from and enjoyed PJ Library along with countless children all over the world. We applaud Harold’s vision and creativity in being the early gateway to the Jewish engagement of young families, and we are proud to play a small role in this endeavor.

Carol Auerbach and Rachel Hyman

Carol Auerbach and Rachel Hyman
Jupiter, Florida, and Seattle, Washington

WE GIVE TO PJ LIBRARY BECAUSE BEING JEWISH IS IMPORTANT TO US AND SHOULD CONTINUE TO BE IMPORTANT TO THOSE THAT COME AFTER US. To connect with our long and rich history and understand Jewish values and the relevance of those values to our lives today, we need to remember our stories. There is great wisdom reflected in our 5,000-year history. That wisdom and the traditions that support it are passed on through the stories we tell. When we lived in Jewish villages and neighborhoods, those stories were all around us. Today we are much more scattered, and the stories that transmit Jewish wisdom and tradition aren’t as easily accessible. PJ Library makes sure that these stories remain alive. Through them the essence of being Jewish can be passed on to our children, grandchildren, and the children of others. Without PJ Library, these stories and the reservoir of knowledge and history that they represent might be easily forgotten.

Moses and Susan Libitzky

Moses and Susan Libitzky
San Francisco, California

WHEN YOU WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, WHERE DO YOU START? For us, the answer lies in our commitment to our local Jewish community.

For the past 30-plus years, we have been involved in the Milwaukee Jewish community, our synagogue, and the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center. Our family has grown to include two girls (now young women!). All of us have benefited from our connection to the Jewish community and its strength, built by the generations before us.

Young Family

We saw a way to build on the impact of PJ Library and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation in Milwaukee by creating an endowment gift for the PJ Library program at our JCC. We feel it is imperative to strengthen the connection families have with our Jewish community, especially the interfaith families in our JCC. PJ Library books and projects are a major way we can touch those families and make them more comfortable with their Jewish connections.

Our incredible PJ Library program professional, Rabbi Shari Shamah, has developed more ways to connect with our families through PJ Library. We are happy to support the program through special holiday and seasonal gift packages for our families. We also help provide PJ Library materials that grandparents can share with their grandchildren in person or on Zoom. Our goal is to engage and build connections with more Jewish families; our gift to PJ Library makes that happen.

Sue and Rick Strait

Sue and Rick Strait
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

From the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center:

The Sue & Rick Strait PJ Library Young Family Engagement Endowment Fund has secured our connections with young Jewish families in our community for the future. In addition to establishing their endowment fund, Sue and Rick have also supported programs like the JCC Family Movie Night: Parking Lot Edition, a Rosh Hashanah outreach event, and a Shabbat engagement event.

Sue and Rick have been involved with Milwaukee’s PJ Library program since its inception, with Sue serving as a trusted advisor from the beginning.

“Sue and Rick are amazing people who invest their time, energy, and passion in our Jewish community,” shared JCC Community Services and Program Director Rabbi Shari Shamah. “They not only give from their hearts, but they inspire others to want to get involved. We are grateful for their support and partnership.”

The Straits’ endowment also helped launch a five-year strategic planning process for PJ Library. Going forward, we envision both remote and in-person PJ Library programs that will continue to engage young families, particularly those not otherwise Jewishly affiliated.

Sue and Rick Strait have always been passionate about maintaining the vibrancy of Milwaukee’s Jewish community, and their investment in PJ Library helps ensure that goal.