Jewish Suncoast residents prepare for holidays with PJ’s Library
SARASOTA – PJ’s Library is a twist on your typical bedtime story.
“The PJ Library is a literary and engagement program for families raising their children Jewish,” Andrea Eiffert of The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee said.
One book each month gets delivered straight to a subscribing family’s front door.
“They always have either a Jewish value, or are about a Jewish holiday, or some Jewish spin,” Eiffert said.
The program introduces kids, ages 6 months to 8 years, to Jewish customs and beliefs.
“Also, good manners and moral lessons, and a way of helping the community,” PJ Library subscriber Susan Beck said.
She and her husband Kenneth say the books really work for their three-year-old son.
“He’ll ask questions about Judaism, items that come in the book,” Kenneth said.
And, he’ll ask about holidays, like the Jewish new year.
“They look forward to eating apples and honey on Rosh Hashanah,” Susan said.
Eiffert says the program is especially helpful in Florida, where many residents are transient and don’t have family here.
“They haven’t been here from generation to generation so creating that family network with your friends is really important,” Eiffert said.
It’s geared toward kids, but it also helps another group: interfaith couples.
“He was raised Jewish and I wasn’t, and our kids were converted and are being raised Jewish,” Susan said.
“As opposed to me having to explain everything to her, it’s a good learning experience for her and the kids at the same time,” Kenneth said.
Rosh Hashanah starts Wednesday evening, and will end Friday evening.
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