PJ Library of Greater Indianapolis has been working feverishly to open the door for a new generation of young families to a colorful world of Jewish history, tradition, and values with free, award-winning monthly books.
A program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, PJ Library is made possible through partnerships with philanthropists and local Jewish organizations. Families raising kids from birth through 12 years old with Judaism as part of their lives, are welcome to sign up. PJ Library welcomes all Jewish families, whatever your background, knowledge, or family make-up, or observance may be.
In Indianapolis, PJ Library works in partnership with the Alan and Linda Cohen Family Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis.
“I’m grateful that we have the opportunity to bring PJ Library here,” said Lauren Cohen Edmundson, on behalf of the Alan & Linda Cohen Foundation, one of PJ Library’s primary donors. “I’m so glad that so many kids and families throughout the state of Indiana get to benefit from it.”
With the generous support from these partners, PJ Library of Greater Indianapolis will continue to send books to young Jews, facilitate lifelong connections between Jewish kids and families, and capture a growing demographic of diverse Jewish families.
There are three ways to be a part of PJ Library’s book program based on a child’s age:
- Newborns to 2-year-olds: PJ Baby Connect is an engagement opportunity for families to enter the PJ Library program, attend events with their babies, and meet other families with similar-aged children.
- Newborns to 9-year-olds: Local PJ Library chapters send books each month to Jewish families.
- Nine-year-olds to 12-year-olds: PJ Our Way is the next chapter of PJ Library. Kids get to choose books they want to receive each month through the PJ Our Way website.
In 2020 alone, 7,584 PJ Library books were sent to more than 650 kids in the Indianapolis Jewish Community.
“PJ Library has been an integral part of our interfaith family for over 10 years now,” said PJ Library Parent Amber Fineman. “We look forward to the monthly delivery of our PJ books and always wonder what we’ll be learning about next together as a family with our new book.”
In addition to sending Jewish books to children, PJ Library hosts a myriad of programming to connect families with one another. PJ Library hosts play dates at Gymboree, My Gym, and Little Village Playhouse, splash pad parties at the JCC, and partners with local synagogues and Jewish organizations to create fun and engaging experiences for children and adults.
“PJ Library of Greater Indianapolis not only participates in the national book delivery program, but engages those families with fun activities in a fun, environment where they can interact with other children of a similar background,” said Robbie Alder, PJ Library of Greater Indianapolis Coordinator. “We want children to learn Jewish culture and traditions in a fun, interactive way.”
In 2019, PJ programming engaged 830 kids. PJ Library also drew in 253 Indianapolis families through events including a Shabbat dinner, a Chanukkah party and a Sukkot celebration. During the pandemic in 2020 and thus far in 2021, PJ Library has hosted virtual story times, baby yoga, grandparent programs, and given out nearly 100 activity boxes for Shabbat, Chanukah, and Rosh Hashanah.
“PJ Library provides resources and events to help us feel and stay connected to the Jewish community,” said PJ Library Parent Julie Krodel. “We aren’t surrounded by many Jewish people in our neighborhood and don’t have much family in the area so we look forward to PJ Library events to keep us involved and connected to the Jewish community.”
Visit www.jewishindianapolis.org/pj-library to sign up for the PJ Library of Greater Indianapolis program to receive free books and to learn about upcoming programming for kids locally.