On the beach in Longport, New Jersey, my grandkids gathered around me, transfixed, to find out how a chameleon saved Noah’s Ark. (He did it by eating the worms that were eating the other animals’ food) In my bed, they all climbed on top of me to find out how Nachshon conquered his fear of swimming and led the Jews through the Red Sea as they escaped slavery in Egypt. When we read New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story, we learned about taschlich, throwing bread into the moving water to throw away the bad and welcome the good on Rosh Hashanah. It became my family’s tradition after that.
I believe PJ Library is the most revolutionary and impactful program developed in the Jewish world in the last several decades, a program that helps to perpetuate and ensure the future of the Jewish people. I’m investing in PJ Library as an Alliance partner for this reason and more.
First, the reach of PJ Library is vast. In less than 13 years, it has touched hundreds of thousands of families. Today, more than 200,000 children in the US and Canada and nearly 600,000 children worldwide receive its monthly deliveries of free Jewish- themed books. It impacts three generations at once – children, parents, and grandparents – and it connects them to Judaism. Parent ambassador programs create small communities of young Jewish families.
Second, the message of PJ Library is completely positive. The books teach children about beautiful Jewish and universal values; Jewish heroes; and Jewish stories, customs, and holidays all with great creativity and color, age-appropriate words, and exciting illustrations. The book flaps give the adults wonderful questions to discuss and activities to engage in with children. The act of reading a good book with a child is a bonding experience that will never be forgotten. The fact that it’s a Jewish book makes it all the more special.
Third, the results are proven. The data shows that the PJ Library experience connects and positively engages Jews of every stripe, including and especially intermarried families, in Jewish life. Many young families connect with their Jewish identity and participate in the joys of Judaism much more, and more deeply, than before they were exposed to PJ Library.
Fourth, the PJ Library Alliance materially supplements the enormous contribution of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and the combined contributions of all Jewish federations and Jewish community organizations and enables PJ Library to expand its reach where resources are limited. The PJ Library Alliance has made it possible to eliminate waiting lists in many communities and to service families where there is no organized Jewish life. I was very impressed to learn that Alliance support enables PJ Library to provide books and resources to Jewish families in every zip code in the United States and Canada!
Finally, and maybe most importantly, PJ Library has deeply affected my family and hundreds of thousands of Jewish families. These amazing books teach us the Jewish values we cherish. They teach us to love Judaism in all its richness, tradition, and beauty. I have personally experienced its profound impacts, and that is one more reason I am making this significant investment in our Jewish future.