PJ Library Family of the Month

Each month, PJ Library features a family in our e-Newsletter.

Meet this month's PJ Library Family of the Month!

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SEPTEMBER PJ LIBRARY FAMILY OF THE MONTH - THE BELENKIY FAMILY

Tell us about your family; how did you hear about the PJ Library?
My name is Yulia Belenkiy, I am married to Gosha and we have three adorable sons Daniel, Ron and Michael. We’ve moved to Winnipeg in August 2016 from Israel. At the “Supper Fun Day” event organized by the Jewish Federation we’ve heard about PJ Library from our friends and have met Florencia Katz.

Tell us about your experiences with PJ Library and how this program (books and events) have impacted your family. 
We receive children’s books every month and our kids are excited every time they see the packages in our mailbox. Then each of them grabs its own book, checks what the others have received and try to read. Just before they go to sleep we get together and read the books.

What are your children's favorite PJ books?
“Hoppy Passover!” by Lnda Glaser, “A Grandma Like Yours” by Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum, “Sam and Charlie (and Sam too!)” by Leslie Kimmelman and “Beni’s Family Treasury” by Jane Breskin Zalben.

What has been your child's favorite PJ Library program and why?
Our favourite PJ Library program would be “Scoop of Summer” since they love ice cream, crafts and games.

Anything else you’d like us to know?
It is so awesome that PJ Library exists; it allows our kids to get familiar with their Jewish identity through books while they are still small.


AUGUST PJ LIBRARY FAMILY OF THE MONTH - THE BORODITSKY – ARONSSON FAMILY

Tell us about your family; how did you hear about the PJ Library?
We are a family of five: Alissa, Jon, Anna (6), Isaac (6) and Ivy (2). I am originally from Winnipeg and Jon is from Sweden. We met in Ontario at University and then moved back to Winnipeg together. We heard about the PJ Library 5 years ago from a friend and we have been receiving books and attending events ever since.

Tell us about your experiences with PJ Library and how this program (books and events) have impacted your family. 
Opening the books each month has become an event in our house. The kids are very excited to open their mail and about what their next story will be. These books often teach valuable lessons and have themes which reinforce what the kids learn at school and the Jewish traditions. The organized events are very well thought out and have activities for all ages. These events allow us to participate in the community and celebrate the holidays in a family friendly way.

What are your children's favorite PJ books?
There have been so many great books over the years but the favourites have been: the Sammy Spider books, Sadie's Sukkah Breakfast, The Shalom Book, Rise and Shine, the Little Little House and my youngest daughter's absolute favourite is the Mister G CD.

What has been your child's favorite PJ Library program and why?
My kids have really enjoyed the PJ Library picnic on campus, Challah making and recently, the event at the ballpark with the Goldeyes . Not only did they go onto the field and play baseball but they were able to meet mascots and players.

Anything else you’d like us to know?
PJ Library is a great community program. We have easily been able to introduce the kids to Jewish culture and holidays and become part of the community. Thank you!


JULY PJ LIBRARY FAMILY OF THE MONTH - THE ALTMAN FAMILY

Tell us about your family; how did you hear about the PJ Library?
We first heard about the program from a friend when we were pregnant with our first child. At the time we were in Calgary and we were actually placed on a wait list for the program. We moved to Winnipeg when Elijah was one year old and we were able to register with PJ Library right away and since then have added our daughter Yaelle and son Ardon to the program as well.

Tell us about your experiences with PJ Library and how this program (books and events) have impacted your family. 
The PJ Library program has been a great benefit to us and our life. It has exposed our family to a wide range of books on Jewish themes that we would not have otherwise. Along with the books there are also the CD’s which our kids listen to while in playing in the playroom and other activities and gifts such as the family tree decals and the Tzedekah boxes. Our kids use these boxes every Shabbat and at the end of the year we are able to donate the contents to a charity that we decide on as a family. The events are also great, they give you an opportunity to get out and meet new people in the community and visit new places as well. Ultimately all the little things provided by the PJ library between books, CD’s, activities and events provide our family with Jewish traditions and values. 

What are your children's favorite PJ books?
Our kids love so many of the books and their favorites change over time but a long time favorites of Elijah’s was “How do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah?”, Yaelle is currently enjoying “Nonna’s Hannukah Surprise” and Ardon likes “Good Night Israel” and “This is the Challah”. Realistically we have these books spread out between the all three kids rooms, the playroom and our family room so it is always fun to find a book in the pile that we haven’t maybe read in a while. 

What has been your child's favorite PJ Library program and why?
I think our family as a whole has really enjoyed the Sukkot events. There is always lots to do with crafts, snacks, a petting zoo, corn maze and of course a sukkot. But other favorites include the PJ library picnic and a Havdallah program.  

Anything else you’d like us to know?
We are very grateful for the PJ library and the amazing collection of wonderful books that we have been gifted through this program. It provides a new little boost every month to interact with your kids in a thoughtful Jewish way. 


JUNE PJ LIBRARY FAMILY OF THE MONTH - THE HAZANOVICH FAMILY

Tell us about your family; how did you hear about the PJ Library?
We learned about PJ Library through one of the community events. Once we realized what is this program about – we signed up right away.

Tell us about your experiences with PJ Library and how this program (books and events) have impacted your family. 
It’s always a nice surprise to receive a mail from PJ library. Since Adam knows how to spell his name he can read it on the envelope. Every time there is a new story. Adam reads first, he looks at the picture trying to guess the story and then we read together. 

What are your children's favorite PJ books?
The book we constantly read is Beautiful Yetta. 

What has been your child's favorite PJ Library program and why?
The favorite and most awaited one is definitely ‘Lego at Limmud’ program, but ‘Tu B’Shvat at the Children’s Museum’ and the ‘Havdallah Pool Party’  are so fun and enjoyable too. 

Anything else you’d like us to know?
PJ library is a part of our social life. We meet our friends frequently on PJ library events and having fun together. PJ library brings all kind of entertainment, whether it is a movie or petting zoo or horse riding or Lego technology. It is an honor to be a part of this group.


MAY PJ LIBRARY FAMILY OF THE MONTH - THE GRIMAN FAMILY

Tell us about your family; how did you hear about the PJ Library?
We came from Israel 5 years ago to Winnipeg. We are a family of five: Michael, Dina, Linda, Melissa & Steven. In one of the PJ Library events we signed up to get books. We are delighted to have them ever since, as it adds so much joy to our Jewish life.

Tell us about your experiences with PJ Library and how this program (books and events) have impacted your family. 
PJ Library events & books are the best combination to provide the awareness, knowledge & importance of preserving Jewish traditions. We find the programs very attractive & it contributes a lot to our children. I'm proud to be part of the PJ parent committee. 

What are your children's favorite PJ books?
Linda likes the book "Goldie's Purim" because it explains the story about Purim, especially queen Esther & her braveness.Melissa likes the book "Everybody says Shalom" - it's an easy to read book with paintings of places & food in Israel. 

What has been your child's favorite PJ Library program and why?
It’s really hard to say what is the favorite program… The recent Matzah baking was a great program as kids were explained on the process and ingredients, videos and finally to make their own Matzah. We love the summer picnic event, lots of activities and children get to meet their friends.

Anything else you’d like us to know?
PJ programs are always welcoming and fun. We are thankful to have such a warm & supportive community.


APRIL PJ LIBRARY FAMILY OF THE MONTH - THE SINGER FAMILY

Tell us about your family; how did you hear about the PJ Library?
Both Alex and I are originally from Ontario but we met in Winnipeg almost a decade here and Winnipeg has been home since. We heard about PJ library after the birth of our twins almost five years ago, when I was trying to find Jewish content books to read with them. A friend of ours suggested we enroll in PJ library, and a few months later we received “On Tu B’Shevat we plant a tree” and we have been in love with the program ever since! 

Tell us about your experiences with PJ Library and how this program (books and events) have impacted your family. 
We have now received books on a monthly basis for almost five years. While we are quite involved in the Jewish community, the books (and music) and programs have enhanced our Jewish lives in innumerable ways. The books get our kids excited and knowledgeable about the Jewish holidays, and are both educational and fun. I can honestly say that the most treasured books in our home are all PJ library books. For our baby Hannah, it warms our heart to be able to read to her about Jewish holidays and experiences from such a young age. You can see her learning (she now says “taya” for challah based on the PJ library Shabbat books) and enjoying the books with her siblings. 
We have put the PJ Library Music CDs in our car, and that is now generally what our children will request to listen to. They are learning all kinds of both Hebrew and Jewish songs just on our car rides. Sometimes at night, when they are going to sleep, we hear the singing Jewish songs that they have listened to in our car, provided by PJ Library. There is not enough space for all the wonderful things I can say about PJ Library. 

What are your children's favorite PJ books?
Too many to count! For Hannah, it’s Bim and Bom, A Kiss on the Keppie, Mitzi’s Mitzvah, My Jewish Colors (she points at the dreidel and sings “daydel daydel daydel”) and Thank You For Me. For Ben and Claudia, their favourites are: A Mezuzah on the Door, Bagels from Benny (which is displayed in Claudia’s room), The Little Little House, Emma’s Poem, Chicken Man, The Chanukah Guest, and the Friday Nights of Nana. I can honestly say that we have never received a PJ library book that wasn’t loved and cherished (and still read)! 

What has been your child's favorite PJ Library program and why?
Once again it’s so hard to choose! The Tu B’Shvat program at Fort Whyte was wonderful! We love all the Morah Nancy Shabbats at Etz Chayim. And I of course loved the Shabbat Project Havdallah Program (although that’s a bit of a bias)

Anything else you’d like us to know?
We are so grateful to the PJ library program for all the ways it enhances our Jewish life on an ongoing basis. Our children love to read and it has been such a privilege to receive such high quality beautiful books that we can share with our children. Thank you thank you thank you! 


MARCH PJ LIBRARY FAMILY OF THE MONTH - THE MUNRO FAMILY

Hello, we are the Munro Family. 
Shoshana, Ryan, Benji (10), Seth (9), and Adin (6). We have been with PJ Library for 8 years now and love it. Shoshana's mother first introduced us to it and signed us up right away. We love this program as each book teaches different lessons and is centered on the Jewish holidays. Because of PJ Library it has brought our family closer to the Jewish community and embrace more traditions in the house. 
Our experiences with PJ Library have been fantastic. The wonderful staff and volunteers at the events are helpful and knowledgeable. Our children love going to them and each time they learn or experience something new. Some of our favourite events were: challah making, Sukkot at the farm and winter fun at a community centre. 
The boys love getting their own piece of mail every month to open and are always eager to read their new book or dance to some new songs. 
If you are not signed up yet we encourage you to do so. There is something that everyone regardless of age can learn from it.


JANUARY PJ LIBRARY FAMILY OF THE MONTH - THE ELFENBEIN FAMILY

How did you hear about the PJ Library?
We have a 16 year old daughter & a 5 year old son. We learned about PJ Library through a family friend.

Tell us about your experiences with PJ Library and how this program (books and events) have impacted your family.
Being a part of the PJ Library experiences brings our family closer together. Our daughter is too old to receive books; however, she enjoys reading them to her brother. We enjoy all the outings and event that PJ Library offers. We like that the events are little or no cost to families. It also helps our family practicing Jewish traditions and holidays.

What are your children's favourite PJ books?
Our son has so many favourites. He gets excited to receive mail every month from PJ Library. He sees his name and opens & wants to read them right away.

What has been your child's favorite PJ Library program and why?
So far his favourite program has been the family Challah Bake & the Mother’s Day with the Blue Bombers. He loves to help Mommy bake & cook. He loves sports and bouncers. That was one of our most memorable moments as a family. We felt very lucky to be able to be there in the stadium that day.

Anything else you'd like us to know?
Thank you for bringing our family closer and helping us be aware of all holidays through the books. I also enjoyed the adult cookbook that was sent to me. I can now make better meals from the Jewish cookbook. This is a wonderful program & we absolutely recommend friends & family to sign up with PJ Library.


NOVEMBER PJ LIBRARY FAMILY OF THE MONTH - THE SCHAEFFER FAMILY

How did you hear about the PJ Library?
Parents with young kids from Temple Shalom have long raved about PJ Library, so we signed our eldest daughter up as soon as she was born!  

Tell us about your experiences with PJ Library and how this program (books and events) have impacted your family. 
While we have no grandparents nor any other extended families in Winnipeg, we have been blessed with warm support from Temple Shalom, Irma Penn Religious School, Brock Corydon Hebrew Bilingual Program as well as PJ Library Program to help nurture our children with Jewish tradition and practice that we cannot otherwise provide ourselves. Our children appreciate filling their bookshelves with PJ Library books, and PJ Library events are a wonderful place for us to meet other young Jewish families across Winnipeg and for our children to form a new friendship.

What are your children's favourite PJ books?
Hannah (9) loves "Chicken Soup, Chicken Soup" by Pamela Mayer, about a girl with a dual heritage (Jewish and Chinese) embracing both traditions, because we are Jewish and Japanese.Alexandra (6) loves "Shmulik Paints the Town" by Lisa Rose, a very colourful book about Shmulik the painter who is having an artist's block, and his dog, Ezra, who ends up painting the mural for him just in time for Yom Ha'atzmaut!  

What has been your child's favorite PJ Library program and why?
We really enjoyed Sukkot celebration at A Maze in Corn last autumn. Outdoor events like this get us out of the city and explore and enjoy the attractions while celebrating the Jewish holidays with friends and families.  


OCTOBER PJ LIBRARY FAMILY OF THE MONTH - THE LYONS FAMILY

How did you hear about the PJ Library?
We were at a family event and were expecting our first child at the time, when a friend of the family asked if I had heard of PJ Library. She described the program enthusiastically as a fantastic source of Jewish content. Her children loved getting the books every month and she recommended signing up.  

Tell us about your experiences with PJ Library and how this program (books and events) have impacted your family. 
My 2 girls love getting their books in the mail every month. Often they are timed with the holidays and start our discussions as to how we are going to celebrate the specific holiday. The CDs tend to be very popular and we will listen to them while doing various crafts in preparation for the holidays.

What are your children's favorite PJ books?
Sophie loves Hanna’s Sabbath dress, it is a wonderful story and of course, the girl in it has a beautiful dress. She has also really enjoyed Shabbat Hiccups, which she just received recently. Elly at 18 months old doesn't quite have a favourite, although she is drawn to the stories that have songs in them.  

What has been your child's favorite PJ Library program and why?
Sophie has enjoyed the pj library picnics in the summer, her favourite activity was riding the pony. Both girls have attended the Shalom Baby Shower, which was a lovely way to introduce them to the community.  

Anything else you’d like us to know? 
This is a great community program that keeps us engaged in the less celebrated Jewish holidays as well as the bigger holidays. I would certainly recommend it for all Jewish families who wish to enhance the degree of Judaism in their home. 


SEPTEMBER PJ LIBRARY FAMILY OF THE MONTH - THE CALOF JONES FAMILY

How did you hear about the PJ Library?
When our son Jayden was born, we attended the Shalom Baby shower hosted by the Jewish Federation. At the shower the PJ Library coordinator spoke and we were able to sign up at the event.  


Tell us about your experiences with PJ Library and how this program (books and events) have impacted your family. 
The PJ Library program is perfect for our family. Jayden’s Dad is not Jewish, and our PJ Library books provide a special opportunity for them to learn together. The holiday programs offered allow us to celebrate holidays that we might not have observed such as Tu B’Shevat. As Jayden got older checking for the mail became very exciting. He always asks if there is mail for him!

What are your children's favorite PJ books?
Shalom Everybodeee! Grover’s Adventure In Israel is one of Jayden’s favorite PJ books. After we read the book Jayden looked through his Mom’s photos from Israel. It was very exciting to see the same places that Grover visited!  

What has been your child's favorite PJ Library program and why?
Jayden’s favorite program was the Tu B’ Shevat program at the Children’s Museum. It was fun to meet new families who have children that are a similar age. Exploring the museum is always exciting and it was an added bonus to learn about a new holiday. We loved planting plants and doing a scavenger hunt.  

Anything else you’d like us to know? 
The PJ Library program is a true gift. The program helps us incorporate Jewish traditions and values into our daily lives and encourages a love of reading. 


JUNE PJ LIBRARY FAMILY OF THE MONTH - THE SPRINTZ FAMILY

How did you hear about the PJ Library?
We were asked to host a Shabbat dinner for new parents with young children on behalf of the Jewish Federation. At the dinner party, we were all gifted a bag of promotional material with a PJ Library book and instructions on how to sign up for more. Who could resist?

Tell us about your PJ Library experience: 
It feels like we have been embraced into such a welcoming new community. Receiving gifts in the mail feels like a monthly birthday gift to my daughter, attending exciting programs and holiday-themed events encourages us to celebrate the holidays in ways that we may have not made time to do, and seeing new but now familiar faces reminds us that our Jewish community is a lot bigger than we think it is. 

What are your children's favourite PJ Library books?
We love the book Dinosaur on Shabbat, but we especially adore all of the CDs, which add so much joy and spirit to our home. We catch ourselves singing them often. 

What has been your child's favourite PJ Library program?
The most memorable program to our daughter has been the PJ Library Picnic at the campus. Our son was only weeks old, and our daughter relished in the attention of all of her family being at the event. Both her great grandparents joined us, as well as her great aunt and uncle, both babas, zaida, cousins and more. She went on her first pony ride holding her great zaida's hand. She still talks about that event and we hope to never forget it

 

MAY PJ LIBRARY FAMILY OF THE MONTH - THE HATAE FAMILY

How did you hear about the PJ Library?

We attended a Rosh Hashanah dinner and Florencia Katz (PJ Library Coordinator) saw I had a baby and mentioned I could enroll to the PJ Library program and receive Jewish books for free. As soon as we went home I registered and a month later Kevin received his first book.
 
How has PJ Library impacted you?
PJ Library had a very positive impact in our family, especially because my husband and I did not grow up in a Jewish family. PJ library books, CD’s with song and events not only promoted "continuing education” for our kids (teaching them traditions, values, Hebrew words and how to care for another human being) but has shown us what we had missed all these years not knowing about Judaism. It really helped us learn more about Jewish values and finding a way to connect with the community.

What are your children's favorite PJ books?
“Found” is Kevin’s favourite book because it reminds him of his stuffed animal which he sleeps and cares for every night. He understands how hard it can be to lose a stuffed animal you love. He also learned that when you find something you have to do whatever you can to find the right owner and don’t take what does not belong to you.

"When I first held you" is Jimmy’s favourite book because I attached a baby photo of Kevin and Jimmy at the end. He knows how I feel when I held him for the first time. I also cry every single time I read that book. This is the reason why this one is also my favorite book from PJ Library.

What has been your child's favorite PJ Library program?
Tu B' Shevat program at the Children Museum where they both plant their parsley plants so that we can use it for our Seder night.  We also really liked the Sukkot program at Fort Whyte Alive! It is great to experience the holidays focusing on a child’s perspective and help them interact with different situations.

Anything else you’d like us to know?
The PJ Library program is a beautiful blessing that Jewish families have to connect with their kids and with Jewish tradition and values. I wish every country in the world would have a PJ Library.


APRIL PJ LIBRARY FAMILY OF THE MONTH - THE DENINZON FAMILY

How did you hear about the PJ Library?
After our daughter was born, we went to an activity organized by PJ Library, and at that time we enrolled to get the books for her. We liked it so much that as soon as our two other kids were born, we enrolled them as well!
 
Tell us about your PJ Library experience:
Our kids love receiving new books and cds every month. Every time we go get the mail they ask if it’s that time of the month already when they get their books. When they were younger we got a lot of beautiful cds that up until this day, they still enjoy!
 
What are your children's favorite PJ books?
My kids really like Queen Esther, The tale of Meshka the Kvetch and The Matzah Ball Fairy.
 
What has been your child's favorite PJ Library program and why?
They really like the purim programs, and also the family Shabbats because they get to have a lot of fun while learning new things about the holidays. 
 

MARCH PJ LIBRARY FAMILY OF THE MONTH - THE ROTHMAN FAMILY

How did you hear about the PJ Library?
We heard about the PJ library through friends

Tell us about your PJ Library experience:
Our son has enjoyed getting his own mail, and we read the books immediately. We've also attended a few fun programs.

What are your children's favorite PJ books?
Our son likes "No Rules for Michael". We really love “Bear feels sick” because it’s about nurturing.

Anything else you’d like us to know?
We started PJ when Theo was bit older so we are looking forward to collecting books for Indiana from a younger age. The books help all of us learn about being kind and respectful and remind us of things we've forgotten from Hebrew Day school. It helps us to create a Jewish home!

- Sara Korsunsky, Matthew, Theo and Indiana Rothman


 

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