Bham’s Young Family Engagement Reflects National Trends
Families who receive free Jewish children’s books from the Massachusetts-based PJ Library say the program has helped them feel more connected to their Jewish communities, with interfaith families especially saying it has spurred them to celebrate Jewish holidays and Shabbat and to learn more about Judaism, a new study found.
The study, released by PJ Library and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, found that 69 percent of participating families say the program has helped them feel more connected to their Jewish communities, whether by attending programs run by PJ library itself or activities run by local Jewish institutions.
Respondents also say the program helps them feel “more knowledgeable and confident” about how to engage in Jewish traditions with their children (83 percent), and 91 percent say the program is a valuable parenting tool.
More than half of intermarried couples who subscribe said the program influences their family to celebrate Shabbat, and 64 percent said it influences them to observe Jewish holidays. Nearly 90 percent of intermarried respondents said the books helped them learn more about Judaism, according to the triennial survey.
In Birmingham, these findings are consistent with the success of the Birmingham Jewish Federation and Birmingham Jewish Foundation’s PJ Library programming. Birmingham’s PJ Library, which benefits 293 children locally, is made possible through the generosity of The Birmingham Jewish Foundation’s Andrew David Abroms Education Fund.
BJF staffer Florina Newcomb, who runs the PJ Library program, said, “PJ Library is such an important part of our Birmingham Jewish community. The books and programs provide a great connection between our young families and also tie our young families to the BJF.”
“Events such as our Mini Mega Challah Bake, Itty Bitty Purim Schpiel, and Come Aboard Noah’s Ark,” Florina explained, “have been tremendously successful in bringing young Jewish families to participate in activities that strengthen their Judaism. The programs also help them meet new friends, and connect them to other Jewish institutions around town such as the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, our Jewish pre-schools, and synagogues as well. In addition, Shalom Baby Bags are given to brand new Jewish babies in Birmingham to introduce them to the PJ Library Program and welcome them into our community.”
If you would like to learn more about PJ Library, please email Florina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some of the above is taken directly from the Times Of Israel.