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The Incredible Gift of PJ Library®

Robyn Sherman Raskin doesn’t remember signing up for PJ Library®. But when the first books arrived for her then six-month-old son Daniel, it was one of the best gifts she’d ever received.

Growing up attending High Holiday services at her grandparents’ Modern Orthodox synagogue, Robyn later had her own connection to Jewish life that included Federation events, and a life-changing JNF trip to Israel, during which she considered making Aliyah. She ultimately decided to stay in Los Angeles, where she met her husband, a Jewish man who, like her, was not leading a religious life. Unaffiliated with a synagogue, but wanting their child to connect to Jewish culture and traditions, they were left with a conundrum.

When the PJ Library books began to appear in their mailbox, everything changed. “We’re not a religious family, but we’re definitely connected to Jewish culture, history and traditions, and that’s important me,” Robyn said. “PJ Library has brought that to Daniel. I wouldn’t know how to explain it to him otherwise. The books offer meaning in a fun way.”

Daniel, now six and a half years old, is thrilled with his growing collection from PJ Library. Books like Izzy the Whiz and Passover McClean, Joseph Had a Little Overcoat and Noah’s Bark are bringing Jewish themes and values to life in the Raskin home. “We appreciate it so much,” Robyn said.

Though she knew Daniel was picking up on Yiddish words and Jewish culture from the books, it wasn’t until the DIY tzedakah box arrived—a gift sent to all PJ Library subscribers—that Robyn knew the program was making a profound impact on her son. For a year and a half, Daniel saved his pennies in the box he adorned with stickers. $22.73 later, he told his parents, “I want to give this money to children who can’t afford books.”

Daniel and his mother recently donated his savings in person to The Jewish Federation’s Beverly Hills headquarters. Passing on the value of tzedakah to her son was an unexpected outcome of PJ Library. Said Robyn, “I can’t remember signing up for the PJ Library program, but it was a wonderful gift that started coming.” And, I’m sure she’d agree, keeps on giving!

PJ Library program in Los Angeles is made possible by Jewish Federation Los Angeles, generous local donors and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. For more information on PJ Library, click here or contact Jessica Jablon, Program Coordinator, at (818) 668-2338 or JJablon@JewishLA.org

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