Fall is almost here, and that means we’re entering the Jewish High Holidays season, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur, a day of atonement. This is a perfect time to explore and learn more about your Jewish faith or ancestry with your family and especially with your young children. The Jewish United Fund (JUF) encourages Jewish families across Chicagoland to explore PJ Library, a free book subscription with Jewish storybooks and activities delivered each month to families with kids from birth through age 12.
Regardless of where you are in your own Jewish journey and experience, PJ Library is for you and your children. It’s something to look forward to as you climb into your pajamas (PJs!) each night!
JUF’s mission is rooted in the belief of collective action and responsibility and JUF provides life-enriching experiences in order to foster community and connection. Through JUF’s Young Families PJ Library program, Chicagoland families can look forward to exploring their Jewish faith through the magic of storytelling. What better way to spark meaningful conversation while exploring and celebrating Jewish life as a family?
“This is especially beneficial to interfaith families where one parent is learning about Judaism along with their child,” says Jackie Rassner, PJ Library Senior Program Associate. “In addition to the books, locally we host events and programs to bring Chicagoland families together and help them create connections to Judaism and each other.”
And now is the perfect time to sign up for PJ Library!
“We are celebrating the start of the new year and we find that many families are looking for a connection to their faith at this time of the year,” Rassner says.
PJ Library provides free enriching books to enjoy as a family
PJ Library is devoted to providing age-specific books to families and their children that fully represent the broad spectrum of today’s Jewish families.
By working with authors, agents, publishers and editors, the PJ Library book selection committee ensures that the finest Jewish storybooks are mailed to Chicagoland children each and every month.
To create the most meaningful and educational experience possible, PJ Library is geared for children from birth to age 8, while the PJ Our Way program focuses on children ages 9 through 12. The program is tailored to be age specific, Rassner says, so your family receives one book each month best suited to the age of every child in your household.
PJ Library’s exclusively curated list of books features many prestigious and award-winning titles, including the Caldecott Medal and the Sydney Taylor Book Award. Several have even been named as finalists for the National Jewish Book Award.
Jewish literature to support your child’s growth
PJ Library selects the finest in Jewish literature for your child with the intention of supporting them at every stage as they grow and discover what being Jewish means to them. Books are reviewed to ensure they contain text and illustrations that engage young readers and reflect valuable aspects of the Jewish experience.
“What I really value about the PJ Library program is that it allows the parent and families to define how Judaism fits into their lives,” says Rassner. “If you are choosing to raise a Jewish family and want to incorporate Jewish traditions and values into your home, PJ Library is here to support families in a way that feels right for them”
She also stresses that PJ Library welcomes every family raising Jewish children. PJ Library families come from a variety of backgrounds and observance levels. PJ Library also encourages anyone outside the Jewish faith to learn more about Judaism through its free online resources.
“PJ Library is a fun easy tool to help families define what being Jewish means to them and an easy way to share it with their children and build community,” Rassner says.