PJ Library New York Engagement Grants Awarded

The Harold Grinspoon Foundation is excited to present the 2021-2022 cohort of PJ Library New York Engagement Grant recipients. The investment in nine partners will help us continue to GROW BOLDLY in New York City, Long Island and Westchester by identifying and engaging families new to PJ Library who are not yet actively participating in Jewish life in their local community. Funded initiatives will address at least one the two following goals:

  1. Create NEW high-quality, ongoing opportunities for parents and families to engage Jewishly
    • Offer NEW opportunities to engage families raising Jewish children, or considering raising Jewish children, from birth through age eight in your immediate geographic area, meeting parents’ curiosity in exploring Jewish life.
    • Integrate accessible and meaningful Jewish content, as well as build social connections between families. Organizations should utilize talented and engaging educators and distinctive offerings (e.g.: mindfulness, arts, service, parenting), to expand the diversity of experiences available to families.
    • Actively publicize grant funded programs to the broader community to reach families who are new to your organization and new to PJ Library.
  1. Empowering parents: Investing in parents as hosts, peer leaders, and co-creators of Jewish experiences
    • Empower parents to take the lead in their family’s Jewish life, making Jewish decisions and creating Jewish moments/experiences for their family and peers. When implemented thoughtfully, peer leadership models both strengthen social networks among families, and expand the number and diversity of Jewish offerings in a community. Eligible strategies may include parent connectors, home-hosted programs, and small group programming.

Read below for the 2021-22 PJ Library New York Engagement Grant recipients!

Shabbat on the Stoop, Forest Hills Jewish Center

Forest Hills, NY

Shabbat on the Stoop is an outdoor, Shabbat experience on the stoop of the Forest Hills Jewish Center geared towards families who are eager to safely gather outdoors during a time of social distancing, as well as those looking to experience Shabbat through a lens of mindfulness. By hosting this program out “on the Stoop,” families in the neighborhood who may not have had the chance, knowledge of, or been comfortable to engage in a synagogue experience can also do so outdoors on the streets of Queens. Along with singing and reading stories, this program will share tools that foster mindfulness and resilience with families. This is a new offering from Forest Hills that will be offered in an ongoing way for families to connect meaningfully over time.

Love the Earth, Share Your Story: A Shabbat Experience, Hebrew Congregation of Somers

Shenorock, NY

Hebrew Congregation of Somers will connect with families in Northern Westchester, where early childhood Shabbat programs are sparse, to introduce at-home practices and offer a Shabbat experience that is welcoming, rejuvenating, and accessible. Twice a month, on Saturday mornings, children 18 months to 5 years old and their grownups will gather to celebrate Shabbat by exploring local nature, telling stories and gathering for music and singing. This new offering will be a meaningful way for families to connect in an ongoing way.

"Y" Volunteer Family Corps, Mid-Island Y JCC

Plainview, NY

Mid-Island Y JCC heard families were eager to give back to the local community to not only help, but show their children how to be of service to others. The creation of the “Y” Volunteer Family Corps provides families the opportunity to give back to the local community through service projects. Each session, which will have Jewish values and/or holidays intertwined, will allow families to participate in hands-on projects and then the opportunity to deliver completed projects to those in their local community in need. This new offering will give families the opportunity to serve together in an ongoing way.

Ramah on the Go!, Ramah Day Camp in Nyack

Nyack, NY

Ramah Nyack will launch Ramah on the Go!, an ongoing series of six interactive, experiential outings for families with young children (2-5 years) who are looking to meet other families in their local Westchester community. These programs are designed to create community through a Jewish lens, nature, and the arts. The series will engage the senses and bring books to life by utilizing age-appropriate stories to access Jewish wisdom.

Rome'Parents: Supporting Families in Our Community, Romemu

New York, NY

Rome’Parents will offer a series of parenting workshops, aiming to provide support following what has been a difficult and isolating time for parents. With the help of parenting experts, Rome’Parents will provide support, guidance and connection to parents navigating challenging topics, while building a cohort experience that will allow families to connect with one another in an ongoing way.

Family Circles with PJ Library, Sanctuary: A Co-Op for Jewish Living

Larchmont, NY

Sanctuary will launch "Family Circles" for families with children ages 5-8. Just as the shape of a circle is embracing, centering and ongoing, each Family Circle will embrace a small, group of families, center around a shared interest (nature, cooking, art), and meet on an ongoing basis (3 times over 3 months). This intentional structure will maximize relationship building, facilitate playful and thoughtful Jewish encounters, and empower families to be active participants in and co-creators of Jewish life.

SELebrate the Jewish Holidays, Temple Sinai of Roslyn

Roslyn, NY

SELebrate the Jewish Holidays provides Roslyn, NY area families, who have a broad range of observance levels, the opportunity to explore Jewish holidays through social-emotional themes and values rather than laws and rituals. The sessions, which will focus on the universal social-emotional skills associated with each holiday, will simultaneously lower the barrier to entry, while also offering a unique lens through which individuals who do have prior Jewish exposure can explore the Jewish holidays. Every month, an SEL-trained educator and a Jewish professional will co-facilitate small groups for participants, incorporating hands-on activities, music, and books for children 2-4 years old and their grownups (grandparents welcome!).

Neighborhood Ambassadors, Tkiya

Brooklyn, NY

Tkiya’s new Neighborhood Ambassador program empowers parents as leaders in creating opportunities for Jewish family engagement and connection in several neighborhoods around New York City. Neighborhood Ambassadors will recruit new families and foster relationship-building during and outside Tkiya programs and also have the opportunity to meet as an Ambassador cohort to learn and discuss how to create the most welcoming, inclusive environment for relationship building.

Sharing Our Stories: From Baby to Bubbie and in Between, YM&YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood

New York, NY

Sharing our Stories will co-create intergenerational programs with the partnership of a parents committee, empowering parents to help shape programs. The programs will connect families with young children to local grandparents/special seniors in an intergenerational community of caring and story-sharing. PJ Library books will inspire gatherings, with an option for families to create tangible books with their own family stories as an ongoing parallel project (self-guided yet fully supported).

PJ Library is made possible thanks to the generosity of The Harold Grinspoon Foundation; PJ Library Alliance partners; and donors across New York City, Long Island, and Westchester.