It was Hebrew story time Friday afternoon, as the Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County gathered Israeli-born parents and their pre-school age children for a story, a crafts project, some gardening, and encouragement to register for a program which brings Hebrew-language books to America’s Israeli communities.
Inspired by PJ Library and its Israeli spin-off, Sifriyat Pijama (Hebrew for pajama library), Sifriyat Pijama B’America aims to connect Israeli-Americans to the Jewish community by distributing Hebrew books and music CDs. Their goal is to expose the Israeli-American children to Hebrew language, culture, and Jewish ideas. Across the country, Sifriyat Pijama B’America is partnering with Jewish day schools to promote the program; locally, both the Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County in New Milford and the Gerrard Berman Day School in Oakland are participating.
Leslie Horn, the admissions coordinator at Schechter, said the school reached out to Israeli parents through its existing parent body as well as advertisements in the local Hebrew-language media. She hopes that today’s event – as well as another scheduled for June 8 – will get the kids excited about reading, about Hebrew and about Judaism.
Horn said that 30 percent of the students at Schechter come from Israeli-American homes.
Sifriyat Pijama B’America is a project of the The Harold Grinspoon Foundation, which sponsors both the PJ Library program and the Israeli Sifriyat Pijama program. Also joining the Grinspoon Foundation behind Sifriyat Pijama B’America is the Adam and Gila Milstein Family Foundation and the Los Angeles-based Israeli Leadership Council.