A group of staff from the Federation and the JCC met this week to discuss our PJ Library program. PJ Library is funded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. The JCC, through Federation funding, carries out high quality programs to connect PJ Library families.
Before I continue, let’s make sure everyone knows what PJ Library is. Every month, children ages 6 months-11 years old receive free books with Jewish content. Harold Grinspoon’s vision in establishing this program was grounded in his belief that Jewish parents read to their children, so why not send them books with Jewish content to inspire those families Jewishly. It has grown to be one of the most successful and largest Jewish programs in the world! In Pittsburgh, we take it several steps further by supplementing the books with family programming through a local coordinator and four Jewish Federation PJ Library Ambassadors. These Jewish Federation PJ Library Ambassadors sit in and conduct their programs in four different geographic areas (Fox Chapel, Wexford/Allison Park, South Hills and the City of Pittsburgh).
Here are some of the absolutely amazing objective results. A year ago, we had 1,374 subscribers. Today, we have grown to 1,744. Over the last twelve months, 228 unique families attended at least one PJ Library program. Since I do not like to write long articles, I will not share the breakdown of the geography of where the subscribers are and who attended the programs, but needless to say, our trend lines are fantastic.
What more can we do? We want more subscribers and more participants in programs. We want to try to encourage these families to consider Jewish Early Childhood Centers, Jewish Day Schools and Religious schools. We want to show these families the beauty of Jewish camping. We would love to see more of these families considering adding more Jewish traditions to their home life. The Federation and JCC staff is working collaboratively on implementing strategies to achieve all of these goals.
As Shabbat begins this evening, I know that Pittsburgh children are going to be sitting on the lap of a parent or even a grandparent being read a book about Shabbat or Tzedakah or some other Jewish concept. It may be THE Jewish moment in that house this week or it may be one of many Jewish moments in that house. Either way, it is helping these families on their Jewish journeys.
P.S. If you know someone who might be interested in signing up for PJ Library, direct them to https://shalompittsburgh.org/pj-library/ where they can click through to the PJ Library website to register for the books and see upcoming events.