When parents have children under age 7, they are probably not be thinking of sweet 16s, but this week, PJ Library in the Heart of New Jersey is celebrating a sweet 16 for those under age 7! The Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey, which brings the PJ Library Jewish book subscription program to Monmouth and Greater Middlesex Counties, is proud to announce it is now serving over 1600 children.
“We have seen incredible growth in the last year with more to come,” said Sarah Portilla, director of community engagement with the Federation. “Our goal is to exceed 1800 by the end of 2016. To date our community has served over 3600 children in almost 2500 households since PJ library began here.”
Equally exciting, Portilla explained, is the way the PJ Library program has blossomed beyond book subscriptions to a full calendar of get-togethers – joyful play dates and events largely run by a growing number of parent volunteers. These programs continue to grow in numbers and even sell out. They make this Jewish community in the heart of NJ vibrant and welcoming for families with young children.
The local PJ Library team has also engaged more community partners who have begun planning independent PJ Library-based programs, such as concerts, character breakfasts, arts & crafts events, story-time, and more. These have included Congregation Torat El’s Topsy Turvy Purim event at Aerials Gymnastics, which PJ library in the Heart of New Jersey co-sponsored, and which sold out!
At a recent, pre-Passover playdate at COCO Beans Play Café, Tinton Falls, over 30 children sang Passover songs, read a PJ Library book and searched for Afikomen in preparation for their seders. Just after Purim, PJ Library co-sponsored with the Axelrod Performing Arts Center and a dozen synagogues, community centers, and schools, a “Mitzvah Bus” concert with Latin Grammy Winner, Mr. G, attended by hundreds from throughout the local area.
As the PJ Library program and community grow, families with children between the ages of 6 months and 7 years are encourage you to join in. If you know someone in Greater Middlesex or Monmouth County, send them to www.jewishheartnj.org/children to sign up. Also you can keep up with all the fun family events in the Jewish community by liking our Facebook Page PJ Library in the Heart of New Jersey as well as checking out our community calendar www.jewishheartnj.org/calendar.