PJ Library in Tidewater helps families gather with friends for Jewish-themed events

by | Jan 18, 2024 | Trending News

Sarah Cooper
Tidewater residents are discovering the joy of celebrating Jewish values and culture through PJ Library Get Together grants. Many know that PJ Library sends free, award-winning books that celebrate Jewish values and culture to families with children from birth through age 12. What is not widely known is that PJ Library offers “Get Together” $100 grants to help families host Jewish-themed gatherings with friends.

“We had a Hanukkah get together on the third night,” says Lindsey Aftel. “It was a fun evening and something we have been doing for years. We made Hanukkah cookies, latkes, played games, and had a delicious dinner. Ari even played I had a little Dreidel on the piano.”

Get togethers can be anything from traditional Shabbat dinners to Jewish book clubs and playdates with other Jewish families. Last year, local requests included hosting a sleep-away camp style Shabbat, a Shabbat pizza party, gathering with Jewish families to celebrate simchas, milestones, and accomplishments, and a Havdalah service with crafts and games for the kids. The grants aim to enhance and elevate these gatherings.

Rochelle Aviv took advantage of PJ Library expanding the grant to allow families to invite non-Jewish friends and neighbors to participate in the gathering. “We had some neighbors who were inter-
ested in learning more about Hanukkah, so we invited them over to celebrate with us! We had latkes, sufganiyot, and lots of dreidel and play time for the kids.”

“Our main goal is to build community by giving people the incentive to do something Jewish they may not have done otherwise,” says Sierra Lautman, senior director of Jewish Innovation at United Jewish Federation of Tidewater. “If they were already planning to get together, they can make it extra special with the $100 grant.”

  1. Families may apply up to three times before June 7, 2024. The process is:
  2. Submit an online application detailing your Get Together plans with at least two other families.
  3. Once approved, host your event within three to five days.
  4. Complete a simple online report sharing details on your Get Together event.

Visit PJLibrary.org/GetTogether to apply for the grant or get ideas for celebrating holidays, hosting get-togethers, and creating unique experiences. Contact Sarah Cooper at Scooper@UJFT.org for more information.