As we get ready to celebrate 10 years of PJ Library in our community (Oct. 24), we should all be excited that we are providing a gateway opportunity for our youngest community members to connect within our Jewish community. This dynamic project, created by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, and brought to the Lehigh Valley by Vicki and Stan (z”l) Wax, Bonnie and Bobby Hammel, and Jean Weiner, sends free Jewish children’s books to families raising kids from birth through 9 years old, making Judaism a part of their lives. To date, our community has distributed 35,000 books and is still going strong! PJ Library shares Jewish stories that help families talk about values and traditions that are important to each of us. This special program allows something magical to happen when parents sit down to read with their children. Our children are learning about the world around them through the stories they hear, and PJ Library books bring Jewish ideas and inspiration to you, your children and your grandchildren to share together. While we are anticipating a wonderful celebration with our young families and their children, we are also planning two special initiatives for older adults.
Working with Jewish Family Service, we are creating an older adults Freestyle Mission to Israel in May 2022, with the goals of building new relationships and strengthening existing relationships within our older adult community. We are also looking forward to a special itinerary and to building new relationships with non-profit social service organizations in Israel. As part of the preparation for this unique trip, our shaliach, Gavriel Siman-Tov will be working with the group conducting conversational Hebrew programs and workshops on everyday life in Israel and making connections with members of our Partnership2Gether community in Israel, Yoav. As a community, the Jewish Federation will also be convening a Seniors Task Force and will work with Jewish Family Service to take a deeper look at the programs and services available for seniors living in the Lehigh Valley. The purpose of this important task force will be to assess the needs of our seniors so that we can better be positioned to offer the right services.
I mention these initiatives for our youngest and our oldest community members because we are truly blessed to be able to provide programs to meet the needs of these populations. These two groups represent both the future of our community and the roots of our community. It is incumbent upon us to welcome and engage our young community members in order for us to be vibrant and relevant into the future. However, we must not lose sight of those “who planted for us,” and as our community ages, we must ensure the proper services for our older adults in order for them to continue to enjoy life in the Lehigh Valley with dignity.
The Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley is Here for Good to ensure that our Jewish community thrives from dor l’dor. Good doesn’t just happen on its own. It comes from our collective dedication, to the promise of a flourishing Jewish future. It is also our commitment to intergenerational programming so that we can count on one another to continue to help good grow. Just as we have in the past. Just as we will in the future.