As a child, I used to love receiving mail. And if I knew a package or letter was coming, the anticipation was almost as exciting as opening the mail! I see my children experience that same joy each month when they receive their PJ Library books.

A gift from PJ Library and PJ Our Way, the books are mailed monthly to Jewish children in the Dayton area, ages 6 months to 11 years old. They are high-quality, expertly selected, age-appropriate, and free of charge.

The PJ program goes far beyond books. Several events are held throughout the year, typically in conjunction with holidays. Our most recent event took place in celebration of Shavuot. Over 25 children and their families joined us as we got a behind the scenes tour of Graeter’s Ice Cream shop in Centerville. After learning about all things ice cream, guests were able to enjoy a scoop of their own. The day concluded with several families meeting up at a nearby park to schmooze while their children played.

While PJ programs help promote reading and a deeper connection to Judaism, the program also creates lasting friendships among children and families within the community. PJ parent Kate Elder has seen this first-hand.

“PJ programs bring together families from the entire Dayton Jewish community. It gives adults and kids a chance to see friends and meet new ones,” says Kate.

Books our children received as babies are well-loved and memorized. They [PJ Library] give us new kid-friendly ideas on how to celebrate holidays, and help us explain the significance and meaning of holidays of which we, as parents, may not be very familiar.

~ Kate Elder
Community Member

Books our children received as babies are well-loved and memorized. They [PJ Library] give us new kid-friendly ideas on how to celebrate holidays, and help us explain the significance and meaning of holidays of which we, as parents, may not be very familiar.

~ Kate Elder
Community Member

Books our children received as babies are well-loved and memorized. They [PJ Library] give us new kid-friendly ideas on how to celebrate holidays, and help us explain the significance and meaning of holidays of which we, as parents, may not be very familiar.

~ Kate Elder
Community Member

The programs have also had a positive effect in Kate’s home. “Some of my favorite books our family has are from PJ Library,” says Kate. “Books our children received as babies are well-loved and memorized. PJ gives us new kid-friendly ideas on how to celebrate holidays, and help us explain the significance and meaning of holidays of which we, as parents, may not be very familiar.”

In addition to programs for children, Dayton has pioneered a PJ Grandparents program that is gaining attention within the national PJ Library community. Grandparents in the Dayton area are able to connect with other grandparents through semi-annual events. The events focus on various ways grandparents can use PJ Library as a tool to connect with their grandchildren. It also gives them a chance to get together and kvell over their grandchildren.

PJ Library, PJ Our Way, and PJ Grandparents provide a way for all Jewish families ~ regardless of affiliation ~ to connect with Judaism, explore their faith and meet other Jewish families in the community. We are incredibly proud of the impact of this program.

Funded nationally by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and locally by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton and anonymous philanthropists, PJ Library and PJ Our Way create a fun way to celebrate Jewish culture and values. In addition to the books, we create events throughout the year to help kids and families connect with one another.

PJ Library is available to Jewish children living in the Dayton area between the ages of 6 months and 8 years old. PJ Our Way offers the next chapter, and is available to children between the ages of 8 and 11 years old.

For more information about PJ Library, please contact PJ Library Coordinator Rachel Gilbert at 937-610-1555 or rgilbert@jfgd.net.

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