Liz* and her husband Jeremy* are raising two girls in a rural community where the nearest synagogue is 90 miles away. The parents considered making the lengthy drive each week to take their oldest daughter Meg* to Sunday school, but then the unthinkable happened.
At just two years old, their younger daughter Morgan* was diagnosed with cancer. With this new challenge in their lives, they weren’t able to devote that time each week to traveling.
However, a Jewish education for their girls was not out of the question, thanks to PJ Library. PJ Library delivers high-quality children’s literature with Jewish themes by mail to subscribing families at no cost.
By kindling an early love of Jewish learning, PJ Library strengthens children’s connections to their cultural and religious heritage in more than 100,000 families across nearly 200 communities.
The books that arrive at the Schwehm house each month are the only Jewish education the girls receive outside of instruction from their mother, and they offer a fun and welcome respite from the pressures of Morgan’s illness.
Morgan recently spent two weeks in the hospital receiving treatment, and she brought with her a handful of books and games to keep by her bed. Among them was the PJ Library Hanukkah book “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel,” which she insisted that her parents read to her dozens of times.
“My kids love the books and I’m happy that we get them,” said Liz. “It’s nice to have something fun that comes in the mail. It helps them feel connected to a Jewish community beyond our home.”
PJ Library is made possible in the Minneapolis Jewish community through the support of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, Harry and Sandy Lerner, the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, and Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis.
*Names have been changed to maintain privacy