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Free Kids' Book Program Keys On Jewish Heritage

Democrat and Chronicle - Jeffrey Blackwell

BRIGHTON — Jewish children's books are now available to local families for free through a national program called The PJ Library.

The program is being offered through the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester and the Jewish Community Center with a grant of about $70,000 from the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation.

Families that sign up for the program will receive a book each month from PJ Library at no cost. The books are for children ages 6 months to 8 years. The program was kicked off at the Purim Palooza celebration Sunday at the Jewish Community Center.

"This is a phenomenal program that a philanthropist started about four or five years ago to bring Jewish children's books into every Jewish home free of charge to families," said Richard Goldstein, president of the federation. "It is because of the contribution from the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation that we could  start PJ right here in Rochester."

The PJ Library ships more than 65,000 books a month to families across the nation and Canada. The program was started by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation.

"We are looking forward to it," said Paula Gutkin of Pittsford, sitting with her daughter, Talia, 6. "I think it is good for her. She is also a beginning reader so it will great for her to read everyday and to read Jewish content books so she can learn, not only about her Jewish heritage, but also learn how to read."

Hundreds of people gathered at the JCC Sunday for the Jewish holiday of Purim.

"Kids dress up in costumes, we have crafts, we have carnival games and we have fun and celebration," said Margot Cohen, a spokeswoman for the Jewish Community Foundation.


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