HGF honors Yom Ha’atzmaut as Sifriyat reaches 194,000 preschoolers.

Sifriyat Pijama & Yom Ha'atzmautAFTER PASSOVER, WE CELEBRATE the Jewish holiday of Yom Ha'atzmaut, the anniversary of Israel's establishment as an independent state. The State of Israel began with the end of the British Mandate May 14, 1948. This year, Yom Ha'atzmaut falls on April 16. Israel is 65 years old.

We at the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF) are proud to be able to support Israel's ongoing efforts to enhance literacy among a multi-culturally diverse population.

One of our most dear achievements comes from the work we have done helping to distribute Jewish children's books to young Hebrew readers in about 6,000 Israeli preschools. We have done this through a dynamic international program, called Sifriyat Pijama.

In partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Education, Sifriyat Pijama enables teachers to introduce a new book each month to their classes. In turn, each student receives the book to take home to read with his or her family. 

Thanks to the Israeli Ministry of Education, participating teachers are given access to professional development training. Teachers learn to use the Sifriyat Pijama children's books as a means of enhancing literacy and engaging families in the learning process.

The video below, "Introducing PJ Israel: Sifriyat Pijama," provides a nice overview of the program.

The Israeli version of PJ Library, Sifriyat Pijama, began in 2009 in partnership with the Israeli Ministry of Education. At that time, the program gave illustrated Hebrew picture books to 3,000 preschoolers. Today, the impact is far wider.

"This school year, it [Sifriyat Pijama] has grown to 194,000 children, about 80 percent of Hebrew-speaking children in the [Israeli] state system," writes Sifriyat Pijama program director Galina Vromen in her recent Jewish Book Council blogpost, "Sifriyat Pijama Grows Up."

Together, HGF and the Ministry of Education are giving away more than 1.5 million books per year. According to Vromen, this makes HGF's program "the largest purchaser of children's books in Israel after the country's biggest book store chain, Steimatzky."

If your community is interested in supporting Sifriyat Pijama's distribution of books to children in Israel, you may contact program director Galina Vromen by sending e-mail to galina@hgf.org.il.