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PJ Library

Created by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, PJ Library is an international program that supports both Judaism and literacy by mailing high quality Jewish-content children’s books every month. In addition to books, children receive a CD featuring Jewish music once a year.

To date, more than 1,000 children in Pittsburgh have received these gifts at no charge to their families. Read more about the PJ Library in this recent Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article. PJ Library in Pittsburgh is sponsored by the Jewish Federation, the JCC, AJL, and Community Day School.

All Jewish children in Pittsburgh between the ages of 6 months and 5-1/2 years are eligible to receive PJ Library books. Families who are subscribed also receive our periodic electronic newsletter.

  • April 2014 PJ Newsletter (PDF)

    Passover's near! Monday night, April 14, to be exact. We will soon spend a week reminding ourselves to “not oppress the stranger, because we were once strangers in the land of Egypt.” We hope your family will use the PJ Library books and resources below to explore these ideas and more this Passover, including creative ideas for acting out the Seder with your kids. Read more

The PJ Library at AJL

Here at the AJL, we develop educational materials for local Jewish organizations, including synagogues, pre-schools and the JCC. Additionally, we provide support and materials to local organizations that wish to create family-oriented programs that incorporate PJ Library books.

To enroll in this free program, click to the secure page at the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh.


PJ Library Newsletters, “PJ Parenting”

“PJ Parenting” ... Giving you some “Positive Jewish” thoughts! Please read our PJ Parenting Newsletter, below. PJ Parenting features a note about the current month’s books, some supplemental reading ideas, and an “Ideas to Explore at Home” section… It is our way of providing adults with some new ways to relate the topics within the PJ books to their own lives and to their children’s lives.

2014 Newsletters

  • April 2014 PJ Newsletter (PDF)

    Passover's near! Monday night, April 14, to be exact. We will soon spend a week reminding ourselves to “not oppress the stranger, because we were once strangers in the land of Egypt.” We hope your family will use the PJ Library books and resources below to explore these ideas and more this Passover, including creative ideas for acting out the Seder with your kids. Read more
  • March 2014 PJ Newsletter (PDF)

    It's Adar, the Jewish month in which we enjoy celebratory costumes, noisy Megillah readings, and triangular treats! The Jewish holiday of Purim begins the evening of Saturday, March 15. Take the holiday to its high level this year by honoring the courageous acts of people like Esther and Mordechai with the sharing of gifts (mischloach manot) and helping those in need (matanot l'evyonim). Read more
  • February 2014 PJ Newsletter (PDF)

    February is a good month to celebrate differences, as it brings us both Black History and Jewish Disability Awareness. Adam Yehidi Nivrah, literally meaning "every person is a unique creation," is a fundamental Jewish value. We can celebrate the uniqueness in each living being by taking joy in the qualities that make each of us extraordinary (and by reading PJ books that celebrate such differences). Read more
  • January 2014 PJ Newsletter (PDF)

    Tu B'Shevat starts this year on Wednesday evening, January 15. It’s an ideal opportunity to highlight the value of shemirat ha'adamah (protecting the earth). Teach your children to be green, enjoy foods that feature the seven fruits and grains (“Seven Species”) grown in Israel during ancient times, and read a holiday-related PJ Library book to nurture a sustainable future for our planet. Read more

2013 Newsletters

  • December 2013 PJ Newsletter (PDF)

    It happens just once a year, each December. When your child opens their PJ envelope, musical notes float out. Get ready to sing, dance, and sway to the music this month. We hope the lyrical refrains of a cadre of creative Jewish musicians will help brighten the long winter nights in your home and neighborhood. Read more
  • November 2013 PJ Newsletter (PDF)

    The Jewish world is all abuzz with talk of Thanksgivukkah!! It’s no wonder! When the convergence of two holidays won't happen again for another 70,000+ years, a creative family celebration is definitely in order! What will emerge in your home when Thanksgiving gratitude for the harvest meets the Maccabean holiday of light, hope, and courage? The possibilities are endless. Read more
  • October 2013 PJ Newsletter (PDF)

    Teaching our children well -- Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young sang it in the '70s, and Jews sing it with each chant of the ve'ahavta. The questions remain: How can we care for our children, our world, and ourselves? How can we offer support and encouragement and fulfill our parental responsibilities? We hope the value-based resources shared through PJ Library books and community events can help create mitzvah-rich, teachable moments for you and your children. Read more
  • September 2013 PJ Newsletter (PDF)

    Shanah Tovah! Happy New Year! Believe it or not, High Holiday season is upon us. Seems like just yesterday we were frolicking in the sun, and before we know it the leaves will be falling, the air will turn cold, and we will be getting ready for the earliest Hanukkah since 1899! This season of Jewish holidays presents an opportunity for families to discuss (and act on) the values associated with personal reflection, personal responsibility, being grateful, and welcoming guests. So many wonderful Jewish values! Read more
  • August 2013 PJ Newsletter

    Summer passes in a snap. This year it seems especially quick given that Rosh Hashanah falls on the earliest possible date--the holiday hasn't fallen on Sept. 5th since 1899 and won't again for 76 years. We're sending out our High Holiday resources this month to help your family make the most of this yearly opportunity for reflection and celebration. Read more
  • June 2013 PJ Newsletter

    Summer is coming... For many, that will create a shift in your daily schedule. If you have children who thrive on the predictable, Judaism offers assistance. We have our very own weekly, year-round Shabbat “Challah-Day” that can help to maintain consistency! Summertime also offers us the ability to be outdoors more; even if you don’t have Shabbat dinner outside, there are plenty of Shabbat inspired crafts that are best made out-of-doors. Read more
  • May 2013 PJ Newsletter

    This month we celebrate Shavuot, originally an ancient harvest festival. Literally translated as “weeks,” Shavuot Shavuot also celebrates the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Read more
  • April 2013 PJ Newsletter

    This month’s PJ Library books celebrate community in a whole new way, looking at how we join a new community. Moving to a new place, visiting a foreign country, making a new friend. We also consider ways to help our young children to nurture their friendships. Read more
  • March 2013 PJ Newsletter

    How do we help our kids, especially our younger children, understand Pesach and their place in time within the continuum of Judaism, yet in an age-friendly way? Find out how PJ Library books, silly songs, puppets and legos can help. Read more
  • February 2013 PJ Newsletter

    The month of Adar is often considered to be the most joyful month on the Jewish calendar; after all we celebrate Purim during Adar! Purim is a wonderful time of year to teach your child about courage, no matter what their age. Read on for more ideas on how to celebrate.
  • January 2013

    Celebrate Tu B’Shevat and teach your child to care for the environment at the same time. There are many fun and simple ways to celebrate Tu B’Shevat. The easiest way is to read your new PJ Library books! Read on for more ideas on how to celebrate.

2012 Newsletters

  • December 2012

    Join your friends at PJ Library’s Storyland on December 24th! We will transform the JCC in Squirrel Hill into a fantasy land that is populated with some of your favorite PJ characters. December is also a wonderful time for music, an integral part of our lives.
  • November 2012

    Getting ready for Hanukkah but also taking the time to celebrate Thanksgiving with our families, having an appreciation for living in a country that celebrates diversity
    and protects everyone’s right to their own personal beliefs. This can be a time to celebrate our families’ unique histories and to teach our children about their own heritage.
  • October 2012

    What makes Shabbat special? It’s not just the wine, blessings, and candlelight. This month’s PJ Library newsletter looks at how Abraham Joshua Heschel describes Shabbat as a “palace in time,” and considers what is special about how we create Shabbat with our families.
  • September 2012

    Anticipating the holidays Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, to the holidays of Sukkot and Simchat Torah. Teaching our children about building a sukkah and the importance of welcoming guests.
  • August 2012

    Planning for the high holidays, books for children to read to prepare for Rosh Hashanah, teaching our children about Tikkun Olam.
  • July 2012

    Generation to generation; focusing on grandparents, family, and community; the idea of “kehillah chesed,” a caring community; ideas for finding “grand-friends” if your children’s grandparents have passed away or live far away.
  • June 2012

    Kids (and moms and dads, too!) counting blessings before bedtime, overnight adventures at summer camp or even at Grandma’s house, the importance of Jewish summer camps.
  • May 2012

    Preparing for Shavuot, looking at the differences between “remembering” and “observing” a holiday or special occasion, family-friendly activities on PJ Library’s Facebook page.
  • April 2012

    Upcoming “archaeological dig” for families, ways to explore Israel without leaving town, and thinking about different ways that communities (families, our Jewish community) thrive, and ways we are responsible to our communities.
  • March 2012

    Helping children get ready for Passover and how reading can help them remember; thinking about why the Jews walked through the wilderness (Exodus 13:17-18) instead of going in a straight line; new books for Passover.
  • February 2012

    Celebrating Tu B’Shevat, reading more about caring for the environment, translating the word mitzvah to mean good deeds and also remembering its translation as commandment.
  • January 2012

    Celebrating Tu B’Shevat, reading more about caring for the environment, translating the word mitzvah to mean good deeds and also remembering its translation as commandment.

2011 Newsletters

  • December 2011

    Dancing and PJ Library music CDs; celebrating Hanukkah, scholarship and history on candle-lighting.
  • November 2011

    Getting ready for Hanukkah, celebrating your family’s heritage in the U.S., celebrating our families’ unique histories and teaching our children about their own heritage.
  • October 2011

    Thoughts on Shabbat as a “palace in time” and celebrating Shabbat with our families; new release books for Shabbat; Sifriyat Pijama books in Israel.
  • September 2011

    Planning for the new year, thoughts on Z’man Simchatenu, books to read to prepare for Sukkot.
  • August 2011

    Planning for the new year, thoughts on making the most of every day, (Isaiah 55:6), books to read to prepare for the High Holidays.
  • July 2011

    Summertime, planning for travel with the family, thoughts on “Kehillah Chesed,” a caring community, (Leviticus 19:34), and how your family can be part of a kehillah chesed.
  • June 2011

    Summer camps, Jewish community, counting our blessings before bedtime.
  • April 2011

    Being part of a community, “virtual” tours of Israel, family as community.
  • March 2011

    Passover, sharing Seder meals, welcoming strangers, Exodus 23:9.
  • February 2011

    Purim and courage, encouraging your children to ask “what” and “why,” and a prayer from songwriter Friedman: “May the source of strength, who blessed the ones before us, Help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing, And let us say, Amen.”
  • January 2011

    Tu B'Shevat, ideas for books and stories about trees, discussion ideas on Deuteronomy 20:19-20
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