L to R: Bea Wiesenthal, 4, and Edison Mentzel, 4, both of Beverly Hills. Jordyn Rodnick, 2, of West Bloomfield.
L to R: Bea Wiesenthal, 4, and Edison Mentzel, 4, both of Beverly Hills. Jordyn Rodnick, 2, of West Bloomfield.

PJ Library is helping families get together with friends for Jewish-themed gatherings.

Many of us 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 you may not know is that PJ Library offers “Get Together” grants to help families host Jewish-themed gatherings with friends.

Get togethers can be anything from hosting a traditional Shabbat dinner to a Jewish book club to a playdate with other Jewish families. Requests have been made for costume parties and hamantaschen bakes to help celebrate Purim. Need help with an idea? Visit the PJ Library website for ideas on how to celebrate holidays, tips for hosting a get together and much more to make your experience both easy and unique.

As director of Programming and Engagement for PJ Library Detroit and JDetroit, Shoshana Fain helps facilitate the PJ Library Get Together grants locally.

“Our main goal is to build community by giving people the incentive to do something Jewish they may not have done otherwise,” Fain said. “If they were already planning to get together, they can make it extra special with the $100 grant. Since September 2022, we have had over 100 applicants, and our goal is to get to 200 by May 31, 2023.”

Parent Stacey Wisenthal of Beverly Hills said, “We were so fortunate to be able to take advantage of the PJ Library Get Together grant for our Chanukah party with preschool friends. We rented a space, and the kids played Chanukah bingo, pin the shamash on the candle, ate pizza, had snacks and got cookie kits to take home to decorate. It was a nice opportunity for the parents to be able to mingle as well.”

The PJ Library Get Together grant helped parent Kara Rodnick of West Bloomfield host a special Shabbat experience for her family. In her application, she said, “We would like to have a real Shabbat dinner. Being married for six years and having a 2-year-old, we have never done a real Shabbat dinner before. I would like to include family and friends. I would like to have my daughter help light candles and enjoy a nice meal with our family.”

Here in the Foon family, in September, I hosted the first night of Rosh Hashanah for my extended family and friends. I applied for a PJ Library Get Together grant and found the process to be both simple and rewarding. I visited the website to get new and exciting ideas for how to make the holiday more enjoyable for the children and adults alike.

I hosted my next PJ Library Get Together for Purim and made hamantaschen with my 5-year-old twins and their friends.

The process is easy! Families can apply up to three times before May 31, 2023:

Step 1: Submit an online application for approval detailing your Get Together plans with at least two families other than your own.

Step 2: Once approved, within three to five days, host your event!

Step 3: Complete a simple online report sharing details on your Get Together event.

Step 4: PJ Library will reimburse you for up to $100 of expenses to feed, entertain and delight your gathered guests.

Questions? Contact Shoshana Fain, director, programming and engagement, PJ Library Detroit and JDetroit. To apply, visit https://pjlibrary.org/beyond-books/get-together/get-together-2023.

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