In recent decades, Jewish life in Greenwich has flourished, and with PJ Library it gained a vibrant hub through which to pass down valued traditions. A promising new initiative is Grandparents Circle, connecting grandparents socially and giving them a framework for funding PJ Library subscriptions, regardless of where their own grandchildren may live
Whether at an evening of musical theater, a chat with Sesame Street Workshop’s Lewis Bernstein or a PJ Hanukkah party with Mister G, the initiative brings together Jewish families l’dor vador—from generation to generation. Eight community builders have been especially instrumental in making Grandparents Circle an opportunity for community engagement, bequeathing the foundation of who we are and where we come from.
What took me to PJ Grandparents Circle was the question, “Could they meet at my house?” I no longer have young grandchildren, but I was thrilled to help launch PJ Library in Greenwich. I think Grandparents Circle is a great idea because it lets me support PJ Library and grow the Greenwich Jewish community. That idea builds on the beginning intent: to have Jewish books available for all families raising Jewish children, including interfaith families who were not necessarily exposed to the culture and traditions of Judaism.
The Greenwich community thanks Rita and her late husband Marty Edelston for providing the seed money to launch the Greenwich PJ Library and this esteemed group for founding and stewarding the Grandparent’s Circle.
WENDY & JIM SCHREIBER
Several years ago, our rabbi told a group of grandparents, “Just because you have interfaith grandchildren, don’t think you have to tiptoe about being Jewish and don’t think you can’t have an influence on these children.” It’s true that grandparents sometimes tiptoe.We don’t want to offend. But in some cases we’re their only connection to Judaism. PJ Library books and programs are a wonderful early entry into the Jewish world.
When my children were young, we only had access to religious storybooks filled with words like,“the marching armies of HaShem.” Later PJ Library came along with books that espoused Jewish ethics, while remaining accessible to all denominations. It’s part of our mission to pass along our traditions to younger generations. So I am happy to support Grandparents Circle—not for my own grandchildren, who live in Israel—but for grandchildren in the community.
I always take my granddaughter to PJ Library events, which are so terrific. Everything in life is about relationships, which is what PJ Library teaches. It’s also life changing because it encourages a lifelong love for reading, which helps you develop empathy for cultures around the world and makes you a smarter, better person. People who are only getting their information online are missing so much. Books give literacy, but they give emotional literacy as well.
How wonderful that young Jewish children can have these books of their very own to learn about their heritage. I have a 6-year-old grandchild in California. I love the idea that she receives books every month. It’s Jewish education. I believe in the PJ Library cause and feel fortunate to be a part of it. Why support Grandparents Circle? Why not?! Especially in these times, with all the hate, isn’t it wonderful to have something positive?
As a grandmother, I can’t think of a better gift to give to my granddaughter than PJ Library. I still remember reading the Deborah Pessin and K’ton Ton books as a child. As president of the Jewish Book Council, I am thrilled that the Harold Grinspoon Foundation is creating a new generation of Jewish readers who will be our future members. PJ Library is one of the most influential Jewish achievements of our time.
Our PJ Library program, and the events for young children that have grown out of it, are the basis for making our families part of Jewish life in Greenwich.That is why I have been working to involve grandparents of PJ Library, whether or not their grandchildren live locally. Our PJ Grandparents Circle gives us a dedicated funding channel to ensure that more books are sent to families, and invites us to participate in grandparent programming going forward.