As “Grammy” to Jake, Harrison, and their baby cousin, Juniper “June” Graham, I am in my element. And when my husband Jan, or I are reading Jewish-themed PJ Library books with them, it’s pure gold!
In Atlanta, free PJ Library books are mailed monthly to more than 5,000 children. Our grandkids get excited when new books, tailored to their ages, arrive in the mail. When we read together, Jake will ask about Jewish things I did when I was a young girl, or when his mom was little. I love how Harrison will snuggle in as I read to him about Shabbat and how his eyes shine when we bless the challah.
We tell stories. We ask questions. When Hanukkah comes and we light the menorah that Jake made, it all comes full circle. The books are a springboard for deeper conversations.
Throughout the pandemic many of my friends were not been able to see their grandchildren. They used FaceTime and Zoom not just to chat, but to read PJ Library books with them! The books are fun and colorful, and you learn along with your grandkids. In families where one parent or grandparent is new to our faith, PJ Library books are a safe and comfortable way to learn and grow in observance.
I’m firmly of the belief that if you want to have a grandchild who loves Jewish traditions, and who understands Jewish values, you must put in the effort. Grandparents have a unique opportunity to show that Jewish identity matters. When we model Jewish values and traditions, they endure beyond our generation, beyond our kids’ generation, down to the grandkids. That is incredibly powerful!
Through PJ Library books we also have an opportunity to model Jewish generosity. It costs $40 a year for each child to have a PJ Library subscription. While the books are mailed for free, the program is not self-sustaining. I’d love to see grandparents with grandkids in Atlanta (or even out of town), become champions for PJ Library by supporting it with their donations so that more families can share the treasure of our heritage.