Source: Sifriyat Pijama B’America
Israeli-American and Jewish-American families across the United States are participating in a new children’s program through which they are mailed monthly – for free – a quality Jewish children’s book in Hebrew.
Sifriyat Pijama B’America (SP-BA) provides an opportunity for young Jewish children, ages three to six, with or without Israeli roots, living in the United States, to sign up to receive free storybooks in Hebrew. The program is designed to strengthen participants’ Hebrew language proficiency and connections with Jewish values and culture, as well as develop a channel through which young Jewish children can spend more quality time at bedtime with their families in a positive, educational manner.
Inspired by PJ Library, SP-BA is unique in its objective of strengthening local Jewish communities across the country by bringing unaffiliated Israeli-Americans who are often not connected to the mainstream Jewish community into the Jewish day school environment. By establishing relationships with about 30 affiliated Jewish day schools across the country, the idea is to motivate families who otherwise haven’t become a part of the local day school community to feel welcome in the schools and to come to them for Jewish community events at no charge. Such events will include group readings and other activities that bring the books to life, such as costume parties and plays.
Each year, materials delivered include nine high-quality children’s books and a music CD or DVD. The selections are chosen by the Israel Ministry of Education and a committee of experts in early childhood and Jewish education. The curriculum is composed of popular storybooks by Jewish authors in Israel and the U.S. – that teach Jewish values on a universal level – to which children everywhere can relate. A key part of SP-BA is the inclusion of Jewish values and traditions in the content of the stories, so as bring Judaism into children’s lives at an early age. Each book or CD is accompanied by a parent guide to help parents further engage their children through activities and discussions. All families with at least one Hebrew-speaking parent who are raising Jewish children between ages three and six are invited to enroll. When families enroll, they will be signed up to receive books for two years and can enroll again after the first two years if they still have children in the three-to-six age range. Children already receiving books through PJ Library are also eligible to enroll in SP-BA.