Survey indicates PJ Library helps promote Jewish customs and values in homes

PJ Library Minneapolis – much like similar programs across U.S. and Canada ­– is helping to preserve the richness and vibrancy of Jewish culture, one book at a time, according to a recent survey.


Families who participate in PJ Library Minneapolis say the program has influenced or supported how they talk about and practice Jewish traditions in their home, according to PJ Library’s 2016 Triennial Family Study. Ninety-six (96) percent of local families say PJ Library Minneapolis supports them in having conversations about Jewish traditions, values and customs with their children.


PJ Library is an international award-winning program designed to strengthen Jewish identity by sending Jewish-content books and music on a monthly basis to children from ages 6 months through 8 years. It is the flagship program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, delivering more than 170,000 free Jewish children’s books and music CDs throughout the U.S. and Canada each month, including 750 families in Minneapolis. PJ Library Minneapolis is a program of Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis (JFCS).


Debbie Wolfe, PJ Library Minneapolis Program Coordinator, said she is thrilled the survey demonstrates how important the books and CDs are in providing a way for families to learn and talk about Jewish holidays, customs and values. She added that PJ Library regularly holds events throughout the year for families to socialize, volunteer, learn and have fun. Coming this fall, PJ Library staff will help to organize group Shabbat gatherings based on family location, interests and traditions in hopes of building stronger community connections locally.


“PJ Library Minneapolis strives to help connect and engage families to each other through our events so they can form lifelong family friendships,” she said. “Community engagement is one of the keys to help enjoy, fortify and strengthen our community and Judaism.”


In Minneapolis, 61 percent of PJ Library families surveyed attended events for Jewish families with young children hosted by PJ Library or another organization in the past year. The events were opportunities to socialize and participate in arts and crafts, cooking or book readings. In addition to creating connections between families, PJ Library Minneapolis is fostering communal ties, with 78 percent of all participating families saying the program has made them interested in getting more connected to local Jewish activities, organizations, and/or people.


In Minneapolis, 90 percent of interfaith families who participate in PJ Library say the program has increased their confidence to engage their children around Jewish traditions, values and customs. Twenty-six (26) percent of families participating in PJ Library Minneapolis are interfaith families, while 24 percent have a family member who is Jewish by choice.


“We take seriously that each night parents are inviting us to join their family during one of the day’s most treasured moments before bedtime,” said Winnie Sandler Grinspoon, president of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. “We take our cues from parents to make sure we provide books worthy of that special family time.”