PJ Library: It’s more than books

May 23, 2024 | Article

By: Bethany Friedlander
PJ Library Manager

PJ Library is about books, community, gathering, newborns and new friends. This past week it has also been about death. I say this with a huge amount of sadness and unbelievable grief because we lost a mom of a PJ Library family. But I also see this as an opportunity to commend our PJ Library community here in Colorado, especially our PJ Library Family Connectors.

Friday morning we received confirmation that a mom, 5 months pregnant, had passed away leaving behind her husband and son. This very family had originally planned to host a Havdalah gathering in their home that Saturday. This family became involved with the PJ community beyond the books because of the Family Connector program.

Family Connectors live and connect in communities all around Colorado. We have families in Steamboat Springs, Broomfield, Westminster, Lakewood, Highlands, Castle Rock, Ft. Collins, Littleton, Thornton, and more. They engage families where they live, with events that speak to their interests.

Within hours, this bereaved family was connected to local Jewish organizations, a meal train was set up, shiva organized due in large part to the web of connections that the Family Connectors form within their neighborhoods. These Family Connectors are authentically building our Jewish community around Colorado.


When we woke up on October 7, it was our PJ Library Family Connectors that gathered on Zoom, expressing concerns, fears, hopes and mostly gearing up to take action. This group of parents mobilized families in their community to come together to create opportunities to support families in Colorado and Israel through selfless acts of kindness from letter writing to creating care packages to send to displaced families.

PJ Library is about the books. We learn all about Judaism, values, culture, history, and the people who help create our world for good. PJ Library is also about the people and the actions we take to emulate those same values we read about with our children.

In the last few years, PJ Library has expanded into something far more than blue and white envelopes arriving each month. We now touch people in person. We create opportunities to connect through play groups, art, storytime, farmers’ markets, and even a hot air balloon festival. We support current and future leaders – new parents – who engage families in communities throughout Colorado. Thank you to all our supporters of PJ Library from those who give, those who get, and those who engage.

PJ Library has been part of my family for 18 years. I take pride in being a PJ Library recipient and now a PJ Library JEWISHcolorado professional and serving along with these incredible Connectors as we create spaces for families to proudly celebrate their Judaism and come together in times of tragedy. Please help me continue sharing Jewish values and love for Jewish community for all our PJ families as we navigate the joys and sorrows of Jewish community and continuity.

PJ Library by the numbers:

  • 1 Family Connector attending PJ Library International Conference
  • 5 Family Connector Meetings
  • 85 programs/gatherings by Family Connectors from August 2023-May 2024
  • 1,221 total participants in one or more gatherings from August 2023-May 2024 (approximately 400 families)
  • 550 PJ Our Way Subscribers
  • 3,293 Active Families
  • 4,195 PJ Library subscribers in Colorado
  • 6,362 families served
  • 8,669 children served