Summer’s Hottest Jewish Family Ticket: Weekly Stories, Ice Cream & Rabbis with PJ Library’s Sweet Summer Series

Children and families are invited by PJ Library® in South Palm Beach County to drop in between 5:30 and 7:00 p.m. at frozen yogurt shops around town for sweet treats on hot summer Thursday nights - and enjoy storytime with local rabbis as well as arts & crafts.

For a second year, Conservative, Orthodox and Reform synagogues are partnering with PJ Library for the Sweet Summer Series. Each Thursday night through August 11, a rabbi from one of seven partner synagogues will read PJ Library stories. (schedule below)

And it’s turned out to be quite the ticket! The season’s first sweet evening drew 50 people, and the momentum continued as 85 came together for the second one.

An innovative Jewish outreach program, PJ Library in South Palm Beach County provides high-quality Jewish books and music free of charge through monthly mailings to local families with Jewish children aged 6 months through 8 years old. The outreach initiative based at the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach is now reaching 1,800 families through the mail, as well at nearly 4,000 children, parents and grandchildren each year at family activities throughout the community. PJ Library’s second chapter, PJ Our WayTM. provides children 9-11 with self-selected books and online activities.

Synagogue members and PJ Library representatives are also on hand at the shops to greet the families and share information about their programs for children and families.

This year’s series builds on the success of last summer, when PJ Library in South Palm Beach County introduced the innovative project to the community, explained Elana Ostroff, local Director of PJ Library, based at the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County.

“The Sweet Summer Series is designed to provide our community’s unaffiliated young Jewish families opportunities to connect to the different synagogues in a relaxed, informal environment,” said Ostroff. Our experience shows that this is a terrific way for them to see what our community’s varied synagogues have to offer. At the same time, they can also sign up for our PJ Library program.”

Rabbi Marci Bloch of (Reform) Congregation B’nai Israel in Boca Raton read PJ Library books at Brendy’s Yogurt & Ice Cream on Clint Moore Road in Boca Raton at this season’s first event in the series.

“PJ Library really lets young families know about this Jewish community and engages them in meaningful ways,” said Rabbi Bloch. “Just like at all PJ Library events, the ice cream social at Brendy’s allowed us to introduce our congregation to new families. It’s a simple yet terrific way to connect unaffiliated Jewish families with young children to the Jewish community and to each other.”

Rabbi Efrem Goldberg of (Orthodox) Boca Raton Synagogue drew a full house on June 30 at Yogurt Rendezvous in Del Mar Shopping Center.

“PJ Library provides an amazing opportunity for all of our community synagogues to partner on behalf of our wonderful children,” said Rabbi Goldberg. “We have always been the people of the book and that includes children’s books. It is such a pleasure and privilege to transmit our sacred Jewish values to young children and bring smiles to their faces while reading them books.”

After participating last summer, Rabbi David Baum of (Conservative) Congregation Shaarei Kodesh has been looking forward to reading stories and meeting community members on July 7 at Yogurt Zone in the West Boca Somerset Shops on Glades Road.

“What a joy it is to share our Jewish values and traditions through the wonderful books provided by PJ Library, and with such an array of young families from across our diverse Jewish community,” said Rabbi Baum. “The synergy of so many of them together in one place raises the ruach so everyone feels included and gets a sense of how amazing it is to be Jewish here in South Palm Beach County.”

For more information about the Sweet Summer Series or the PJ Library program, visit jewishboca.org/pjlibrary, e-mail pjlibrary@bocafed.org or call Ostroff at 561.852.6080. To sign up for PJ Our Way for children 9-11, visit pjourway.org.

Upcoming Sweet Summer Series events (all on Thursdays from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.) include (starred locations are under ORB kosher supervision):

THURSDAY • AUGUST 4, 2016
Yogurt Rendezvous*

Del Mar Shopping Center
7150 Beracasa Way, Boca Raton
In partnership with Boca Jewish Center

THURSDAY • AUGUST 11, 2016
Brendy’s Yogurt & Ice Cream

4801 Linton Blvd., Delray Beach
In partnership with Temple Sinai of Palm Beach County