PJ Library Helps Westchester Jewish Center Connect Jewish Families and Celebrate Jewish Life

Westchester Jewish Center – area families raising Jewish children will now have more opportunities to participate in Jewish life, thanks to a grant recently awarded by PJ Library®, a flagship program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation that provides free books to families raising Jewish children all over the world.

Westchester Jewish Center received $5,000 to bring ShaJam in Westchester, to the Westchester community. WJC will host a once a month PJ Library Shabbat program monthly in partnership with Tkiya, an organization based out of New York City and Brooklyn that uses musical experiences to create Jewish connections. This program, free of charge, will be open to children birth through pre-school and their grown-ups (parent, grandparent, caregiver).

The winning initiatives are designed to provide innovative programs that find and engage families who are new to the organization and connect families to compelling and high-quality Jewish experiences in New York. They range from family cooking series to social justice programming to Shabbat experiences.

The 16 winning grant proposals were chosen through a competitive process open to organizations implementing PJ Library across the New York Metro area (Five Boroughs, Long Island, and Westchester).

A survey of over 500 participants in previous grant-funded projects showed:

  • 79% of families connected socially during the programs
  • 53% of families followed up with the social connections afterward
  • 83% of families felt programs supported them in having conversations about Jewish traditions, values, and/or customs
  • 98% would recommend the programs to friends

“We have worked closely with our local partners for years to help advance Jewish family engagement,” said Rabbi Melanie Levav, director of PJ Library, New York. “We’re grateful for the support of the UJA Federation of New York and other partners as we work to assist organizations delivering great initiatives for New York families.”

Part of a five-year strategy to expand Jewish engagement in North America, these grants are funded through the PJ Library Alliance. Partners in the Alliance are the Azrieli Foundation; Carl and Joann Bianco; the Crown Family; William Davidson Foundation; William and Audrey Farber Philanthropic Fund; Genesis Philanthropy Group; Diane and Guilford Glazer/ Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles; Jim Joseph Foundation; The Marcus Foundation, Inc.; Howard and Geraldine Polinger Family Foundation; Mike and Sofia Segal Family Foundation; Susser Family Trust; Walter, Arnee, Sarah, and Aaron Winshall; Zucker Family Foundation; and two anonymous partners.

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