The Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF), in partnership with Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG), is broadening its outreach to Russian-speaking Jewish families in North America by bringing its PJ Library program to additional Russian-speaking Jewish communities. Greater Miami Jewish Federation, Montreal Federation CJA and the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley are the first three PJ Library communities to be awarded this grant opportunity.
Created by HGF in 2005, PJ Library offers families raising Jewish children, ages six months to eight years, a meaningful way to develop and deepen their Jewish identities. Building on the success of PJ Library’s commitment to New York’s Russian-speaking Jewish families – three existing programs in NYC serve this audience – this new initiative will expand the national reach of the program over the next two years.
Funding provides participating Russian-speaking Jewish children with an age-appropriate Jewish book or CD delivered to their home every month, free of charge. Since the initiative’s launch in December, more than 300 families have enrolled. In addition to receiving books, families engage with their local community through “Beyond the Books” programming. The partnership with local Jewish organizations and Jewish Federations includes holiday celebrations, book clubs and local monthly PJ Library gatherings that incorporate Jewish values and Russian traditions. In addition to PJ Library subscriptions and resources for programming, GPG funding supports Russian-speaking program staff, as they work with local communities to develop relevant and innovative programming experiences and reach RSJ families.
Oftentimes, Russian-speaking Jewish families in the United States are not involved in the local Jewish community. By sending books into their homes, the PJ Library program is designed to both spark Jewish engagement in the home and bring families from the wider community together.