Cleveland Kids Give Back

Tags: PJ Library, Family, Federation, Women, Teens

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A PJ Library Story

Jacob and Charlie have been giving tzedakah (charity) for as long as they can remember. Their mom, Heather, puts a tzedakah box on the table every Shabbat and they happily share their nickels and dimes. As little kids, they loved hearing a little plunk as the coins fell through the slit in the box. For years now, they know, because their mom tells them, that each little plunk is a mitzvah (good deed) that they can feel proud of.

Every Jewish mom wants her child to be a mensch (good person) and uphold traditional Jewish values like giving tzedakah to help others. Thanks to the Federation-supported PJ Library® program, learning about Jewish values is made easy.

“For seven years, a free PJ Library book or CD arrived in the mail, addressed directly to my kids,” said Heather. “They would jump for joy, tear open the envelopes, and start reading right away!”

The program that launched in Cleveland in 2009 focused on helping children build their Jewish libraries and make a connection to Jewish traditions. Since then, over 4,400 local children have received over 100,000 Jewish books and CDs in the mail. And the program has also helped children connect with all kinds of Jewish families through multiple family events.

Then, one day, they got a new surprise. Jacob and Charlie ripped open the package and they saw something different inside. They paused, feeling excited and gleeful. “It’s a tzedakah box!” They cheered and immediately started placing coins in the box.

“The tzedakah box meant so much to them,” said Heather. “Now, they are using their own PJ tzedakah box on Shabbat and plan on donating the money they save back to the community.”

Federation’s annual Campaign for Jewish Needs launched on September 10, 2015 with an eye to the future. Featured speakers included young adults who have been shaped by this vibrant Jewish community and are standing up and speaking out for what they believe in, guided by their Jewish roots and values.

Jacob and Charlie have many years to go before they will advocate on college campuses, or launch new leadership groups, but they still understand that what they do today matters for tomorrow.

“We are donating to the Federation’s Campaign for Jewish Needs because we know other Jewish kids like us will get help if they need it,” said Jacob.

You can join great kids like Jacob and Charlie at our upcoming event for young families, new this year, called the Tzedakah Party, a Thanksgiving time event celebrating giving thanks, giving back, and giving tzedakah. To learn more and register, please visit http://www.jewishcleveland.org/news/upcoming-events/tzedakah_party.

If you, or someone you know, wants to register for PJ Library books and CDs, please contact Kelly Rubanenko at krubanenko@jcfcleve.org or 216-593-2865, or visit http://www.jewishcleveland.org/involved/kids_families/.

In partnership with the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, PJ Library® in Cleveland is generously funded by Mort and Iris November in celebration of Debra Ann November's life.  

Programs that build Jewish identity and ensure our Jewish future are made possible thanks to generous donors like you and the Campaign for Jewish Needs. To make a gift that makes a difference please visit our donation page: https://www.jewishcleveland.org/give/donate/

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Learn More: PJ Library, Family, Federation, Women, Teens