Think about storytelling. What is the first thing that comes to mind? For many, it can be a vision of sitting with family and sharing fond childhood memories or listening to the recounting of events from past generations. For others, storytelling may bring to mind groups of friends regaling humorous anecdotes, new experiences or shared moments of camaraderie. For you, your first thought may include reading to your child at night before they drift to sleep with those very stories giving way to dreams.
Across time, settings and audiences, storytelling has had the power to connect, inform and transform people. Storytelling is the original social sharing activity which started way before social media! A good story uses words to paint a picture that the listener can relate to and set new aspirations for a better version of himself. When the power of storytelling is harnessed into a good book, the story becomes accessible to a much wider audience and therefore, capable of a positive, viral effect that much greater! This is what PJ Library has accomplished in the years since it’s inception in 2005.
Developing Jewish Identity Through Storytelling
The Jewish tradition of storytelling has been used… since the beginning! It has been utilized across generations for building Jewish identity, culture and community through oral retelling and written word. Such stories include backgrounds and settings that portray Jewish heritage, culture and holidays. By sharing folktales, laws, traditions and stories filled with (sometimes unlikely) role models, narratives are laid which mold the listener’s own personal character, instilling foundational qualities and beliefs.
When Jewish characters convey ideas and concepts, tell history and ‘happenings’ or teach lessons and values, the listener is empowered by the main character, or hero, to emulate their actions and personalities. They can then be inspired to take their own place in moving Jewish history forward. That is a gift not only to the audience actively reading the story, but to the Jewish people as a whole, ‘Am Yisroel.’
Transforming Family Life Through Children’s Bedtime Stories
How do we use the power of storytelling in practical ways for our modern Jewish family? Children’s books! Family storytelling is a powerful way to frame concepts of Jewish identity into the home, constructing the language and culture into every day life. PJ Library has gifted the power of family storytime by partnering with communities around the world to bring home the magic of sharing stories and talking together, discussing the values and traditions that are important to your family.
PJ Library uses classic storytelling and vibrant illustrations to teach everything from how we greet people to how we treat people. The organization has taken the ‘work’ out of reading at home by delivering Jewish children’s books to homes across the world each month at no cost to the family. PJ Library sends over two-hundred thousand books to families raising Jewish children each month as an engagement and literacy program for Jewish and interfaith families with young children.
This is how PJ Library has revitalized the age-old art of storytelling: by providing fresh, Jewish bedtime stories for children and their families.
PJ Library aims to be an inclusive program and welcomes Jewish families of all backgrounds, levels of observance and engagement, and family makeup. Families with young children are welcome to join at any time. Search for PJ Library in your area by connecting with your community >>
About PJ Library in Broward County
PJ Library® is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and a gift from the Jewish Federation of Broward County thanks to the generous support of The Sam Berman Charitable Foundation, additional donors and our Collaborative Partners. Thanks to their support and the leadership of coordinator and early childhood educator Marney Tokar, thousands of homes across the county now have their own treasury of Jewish books and music to share with their children.
PJ Library in Broward County
5890 S Pine Island Road, Davie, FL 33328
Programs for Children
PJ Library Books and Music are available to children between the ages of six month and eight years. PJ Our Way is a choose-a-book program offered to older children between the ages of nine and eleven years. PJ Library Connectors brings social gatherings and families meetups to our Broward neighborhoods, geared for newborns through children three years old, but welcoming to all.
Jewish Children’s Music
PJ Library Radio was created in partnership with Jewish Rock Radio to provide a free app and online streaming station to access Jewish children’s music twenty-four hours a day.
PJ Library® In Your Home
For more information or to register your child to receive free Jewish books and music in the mail each month, contact our PJ Library in Broward County Coordinator, Marney Tokar, at (954) 252-6948 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free PJ Printable: Jewish Value A Day Activities