Home > Chanukah, Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal > This Chanukah, your child can receive the gift of Jewish reading

This Chanukah, your child can receive the gift of Jewish reading

December 11, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

By Rabbi Leonard Rosenthal

SAN DIEGO–This week I was honored to be a member of San Diego’s delegation to the “First Ever Jewish Legacy Forum” in Tucson, Arizona. San Diego’s Jewish Community Foundation has been a pioneer in helping local synagogues and agencies promote legacy giving and the establishment of endowment funds.

Tifereth Israel Synagogue was selected to participate in the Foundation’s first Endowment Leadership Institute (ELI), and I am proud that our congregation has fifty-two members and friends who have either made significant contributions to our endowment funds or promised to leave a gift to the synagogue in their will or trust. All of our legacy givers are members of Chevrat Bonim, Tifereth Israel’s Legacy Honor Society.

As of a member of San Diego’s delegation to the Legacy Forum in Tucson, it was my duty and pleasure to report on the success of our congregation in “Creating Jewish Legacies” and growing our endowment funds.

But that is beside the point…..!

What I really want to share with you is that one of the participants in the Tucson Legacy Forum was Harold Grinspoon. Harold Grinspoon is a philanthropist from Springfield, Massachusetts who has made many contributions to the Jewish community and Israel. You can read more about the mitzvot he performs here.

Mr. Grinspoon has a direct connection with San Diego because our community is a “PJ Community,” that is, we participate in the PJ Library program. According to its website, “The PJ Library® program supports families in their Jewish journey by sending Jewish-content books and music on a monthly basis to children from age six months to five, six, seven or eight years depending on the community.

Created by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, The PJ Library is funded nationally in partnership with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, local philanthropists, and Jewish organizations.” Our area’s  local partner is the Viterbi Family Foundation of the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego.

Children who are signed up for the PJ Library program receive inspiring and uplifting Jewish books for a full year at no cost.

If you were at Simcha Shabbat services last Friday night, you would have been as delighted as I to be the partial recipient of Mr. Grinspoon and the Viterbi Family’s generosity. During services, Desiree Lange, this month’s special Shabbat Guest, read “Mrs. Greenberg’s Messy Chanukah,” a delightful tale of a little girl who “assists” a senior citizen in celebrating Chanukah. Everyone present, adults and kids alike, listened attentively to this wonderful story.

Membership in the PJ Library is free and open to all children who live within a PJ Library community. If your child or grandchild has not been signed up, you can do so by clicking here. If your child or grandchild already has completed their free membership year or does not live in a PJ Library community, you can still find many excellent suggestions of Jewish books you can give them for Chanukah and throughout the year by looking at the website.

As we light the first Chanukah candle tonight, I can think ofno better gift to bestow upon the children we love than the gift of the exciting and joyful Jewish memories they will receive from reading the creative and inventive Jewish children’s books being written today.
Rabbi Rosenthal is spiritual leader of Tifereth Israel Synagogue in San Diego

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