PJ Library Family Study: How 25,000 Families Experience Jewish Life in the U.S. and Canada

June 27, 2017

Source: eJewish Philanthropy


Over the past decade, more than 250,000 families in North America have signed up their children to receive free Jewish-themed books and resources each month from PJ Library®. At a time when religious affiliation is down by traditional measures across faiths, why is a Jewish program for children attracting so many followers? The Harold Grinspoon Foundation recently commissioned an independent evaluation to find out. Who are these families? What is it about this Jewish program that is drawing them in and keeping them in?

The findings of the evaluation,“From Jewish Books to Jewish Life: Results from PJ Library’s 2016 Triennial Family Study”, by Informing Change, are now available. While the study was designed to evaluate one particular program, many of the findings will be of interest to the broader Jewish community. With responses from 25,270 families (a 20% survey response rate), the study gives us information from what may be the largest number of families raising young children surveyed in the North American Jewish community. Beyond sheer size, the study provides some important findings. Below are some key highlights:

  • PJ Library parents are not squarely in the millennial generation. The average age of a PJ Library parent is 38 years old.
  • 2–in–5 Families have a family member who did not grow up Jewish
  • PJ Library is a valuable Jewish parenting tool, especially for intermarried families. Eighty-three percent of all survey respondents said that PJ Library has increased their confidence in engaging with their children on Jewish topics. This number grows even higher – to 94% – when looking exclusively at intermarried families.
  • PJ Library families want more connection with the Jewish community. Engaging families “beyond the books” and other materials sent each month in the PJ envelope is important to PJ Library’s success, and it is made possible by partners such as Jewish federations, JCCs, and other community-based organizations that run PJ Library on the ground and provide outreach efforts and programming for families with young children.
  • PJ Library influences some families to make larger investments in Jewish life. Many PJ Library families reported that PJ Library influenced them to enroll their children in the following other Jewish experiences that require financial and time investments: a Jewish summer day or overnight camp (28%); a Jewish after-school or weekend program (28%); a Jewish early education program (27%). Additionally, PJ Library influenced 17% of families to enroll their children in a Jewish day school. With over 120,000 families currently subscribing to PJ Library, these percentages reflect a large number of families being influenced to some degree by PJ Library to make larger investments in their children’s Jewish experiences.

From our perspective, the findings confirm some of what we expected to see and also provide insights that are new and informative. They also confirm that our foundation’s investment in this project is yielding the kind of results we are looking for.

Read the entire article on eJewish Philanthropy

Updated: Jun. 28, 2017