PJ Library, Jewish children’s book program, open to more Deerfield families
As High Holidays approach, funding available to send more free books
For 6,000 Chicago area families, it is a momentous day when the PJ Library package arrives in the mailbox. Excitedly, the children tear off the white envelope to reveal the latest monthly gift of a Jewish children’s book.
With the Jewish High Holidays fast approaching (Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 4 to 6; and Yom Kippur, Sept. 13 and 14), thousands of children are snuggling with their parents at bedtime around PJ Library books that are teaching the timeless lessons and values of the Jewish New Year.
And, the good news is that there is funding to sign up even more Chicago area families.
Since 2005, PJ Library has been sending free Jewish children’s books throughout North America to children from 6 months through 8 years old. PJ Library now sends 116,000 books every month to Jewish homes. The program was founded by philanthropist Harold Grinspoon who was inspired by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library which gives books to underprivileged children. Grinspoon thought that idea could translate into engaging Jewish families in the enduring stories and wisdom of Jewish culture through books. The program has been so successful that it expects to mail its 5 millionth book in time for Hanukkah.
Chicago is the largest of 185 PJ Library communities throughout the US and Canada, thanks to local donors such as The Crown Family, Iris and Steve Podolsky, and an anonymous donor. PJ Library is implemented in Chicago by the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago in partnership with The Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Families can sign up here: (www.juf.org/pjlibrary)
“Chicago is a phenomenally successful PJ Library community,” said PJ Library Director Marcie Greenfield Simons. “We are so pleased that more Jewish families can join this magical world of reading books together each night, and our hope is that these stories will deepen their connection to being Jewish.”
About PJ Library
PJ Library is an award-winning Jewish family engagement program designed to strengthen the identities of Jewish families and their relationship with the Jewish community. PJ Library, which started in 2005 by providing books to 200 families, today offers free, high-quality Jewish books and music each month to nearly 116,000 children between the ages of six months and eight years in more than 185 communities in the United States and Canada. The program is growing internationally. Another 190,000 preschool children in Israel also receive books through PJ Library’s sister program, “Sifriyat Pijama.” PJ Library was created by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, which funds institutions and programs that directly transmit Jewish learning to children, adults, and families. PJ Library impacts families beyond the books they receive at home by building a community of practitioners, connecting families to their local Jewish communities, and enriching local Jewish programming. PJ Library seeks partners with philanthropists and Jewish Federations, Jewish Community Centers, synagogues and other Jewish non-profit organizations to bring PJ Library books and music to children. PJ Library pays more than 50 percent of the cost of sending one package each month to PJ Library participants. For more information about PJ Library, visit www.pjlibrary.org.