2017-06-07 / Voice at the Shore

PJ Our Way gives kids free Jewish books and more


Young readers taking part in the inaugural PJ Our Way program at Seashore Gardens Living Center last month were from left): Ella Berg, Charlie Litow, Erin Berg, Chloe Reganato, Sam Goldstein, Luke Goldstein and (not pictured) Jared Sheehan. Young readers taking part in the inaugural PJ Our Way program at Seashore Gardens Living Center last month were from left): Ella Berg, Charlie Litow, Erin Berg, Chloe Reganato, Sam Goldstein, Luke Goldstein and (not pictured) Jared Sheehan. Do you know a tween (age 9- 11) who likes to read? If so, they can choose one free Jewish book every month by signing up for a new program called PJ Our Way. As part of this book club, they can also participate in local programs with other PJ Our Way kids and talk to other kids online about the books they’re reading. They can also apply to be part of a design team that helps select PJ Our Way books and designs the content of the PJ Our Way website.

PJ Our Way recently held its first program in Atlantic County at Seashore Gardens Living Center in Galloway, where a group of kids gathered to read books to seniors residing there. The children also “interviewed” the seniors about their lives. The program was led by PJ Our Way Director Susan Weis, who is also director of the Jewish Federation’s Board of Jewish Education.

“You are a breath of fresh air and have a lot to share and a lot to give to the residents here,” Weis told the children. She then assigned each child the task ( of being a “reporter” that would pick one or two residents and ask them a list of questions— which included their name, where they were born, their favorite food, and more.

The children and parents were then led to a roomful of elderly residents who had volunteered to take part in the program. Some kids shyly began asking questions, while others plunged into conversation. In the end, everyone was talking, and each “interviewer” and “interviewee” took a picture together as a keepsake.

In August, PJ

Our Way is planning a “kid-led book group,” said Weis, although the date and the book have not yet been decided.

PJ Our Way is open to children age 9-11. Children do not have to attend programs to receive books; they only need to sign up for the program and go to the PJ Our Way website each month to choose a book.

PJ Our Way is a spin-off of the PJ Library program (see PJLibrary.org), which has offered monthly books and programming for children aged 2-8 since 2005. Both programs are funded by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation in partnership with local communities. To register for PJ Our Way or for more information, go to PJOurWay.org or contact Susan Weis at (609) 822-1854 or pjlibraryatlantic@gmail.com. s

Return to top