Sunday, July 18, 2010

PJ Library Comes to Israel---and Kiryat Malachi!

Today I visited a friend named Leah, now in her 11th year as director of the Beit Tzipora-Keren Wiesel program in Kiryat Malachi.  It was originally started in Ashkelon and Kiryat Malachi to give educational support to the Ethiopian-Israeli chidlren in the area. 

Leah is an amazing woman, and it was a delight to see her.  And through her, I found out that the PJ Library or Sifriyat Pijama  ספריית פיג'מה  in Hebrew, is now in Israel too as of the September, 2009.

Here is the website of the program, which is also in Hebrew and Russian:

Harold Greenspoon, the founder of the PJ Library, has a passion for the Jewish people and for Israel.  Although Israeli children often know more about Jewish holidays than their American counterparts, Grinspoon discovered in conversations with Israeli educators that Israeli children are often unaware of what Judaism has to say about universal values.  On his trips to Israel, he heard that most children do not have books at home, especially those outside the center of the country.  He decided to start the program with 3000 kindergarteners, mostly from underpriviledged families in the north of Israel.  Unlike the US program, it cannot be subscribed to individually but is subsidized locally in Israel.
If you know the program in the US, you will see that the application is identical pretty much to the one in the US:

Leah found out about the program and was allowed to bring it to her 70 first graders last year.  She found a pre-school teacher who is great at story telling who also was quick to adapt to the needs of first graders.  The children each got 11 (maybe 9??) books throughout the year.  The teacher created programs around the books, and asked that parents attend at least one during the year to see the excitement that the children have about them.  At the beginning of this year, the children will each make a bookshelf to take home to use for these books. 
Below you can see some of the books that were distributed this past year and the type of book shelf out of thick cardboard scraps that they will make in the fall.
What Is My Name and Who Am I?
The Legend of the Bridge
The Roosters and the Fox

The Tractor in the Sandbox

Grandpa's Bakery on the bookshelf

No comments: