Here’s the Story – The PJ Library in Greater Washington Blog

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child hugging a tree with a heart

Planting for the Future

My daughter’s favorite Jewish holiday is coming up. Her name (Elana) means “tree,” and so she takes the celebration of Tu B’Shevat, the “birthday of the trees,” very seriously and personally. Even without a connection like this, Tu B’Shevat (which starts at sundown on Sunday, February 9), is a holiday we should all take seriously […]

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MLK Memorial

Honoring the Legacy of Dr. King Through Action

January is a month for reflection and introspection. While Shabbat is the only Jewish holiday this month, there is another holiday many Jews celebrate as it aligns with our values. MLK Day, honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, is a great way to kick off a year of volunteerism and […]

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lighting the chanukiah

When Chanukah and Christmas Collide

Well, it’s that kind of year again, when Chanukah and Christmas overlap. I don’t know about you, but I know that this causes a little stress in our family. We are an interfaith family, and we believe in giving each holiday its due. That’s SO much easier when the holidays are separate! When Chanukah and […]

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Thanksgiving PJ blog post

Sharing Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving is a holiday that all Americans can share, no matter your religion or background. Even rivalries about the food itself—white vs. dark meat turkey or canned vs. sauce cranberries or stuffing vs. dressing (in all their myriad variations)—are more humorous than serious. Growing up with divorced parents of different faiths, my sister and I […]

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children doing tashlich

The Power of Gathering for the Holidays

The High Holidays call for a lot of introspection, a lot of time thinking to yourself or praying silently. We reflect on the past year and hope for a better year and fewer mistakes ahead.  Why then do we gather as a community to mark them? There are many reasons, but one of the most […]

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Parents Blessing Their Children

From Generation to Generation

On Shabbat, there is a beautiful ritual that families can do to create a strong physical and metaphysical connection between generations.  It’s the blessing of the children. The traditional version begins with “May God make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah” (for daughters) or “like Ephraim and Menashe” (for sons), and it continues with […]

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Being Present

It’s About Being There

In Judaism, there is the concept of Hineni, of being present. It’s not just about showing up and being counted*—it’s about showing up and being there. In Reggio Emilia, Italy, the same concept of “being present” is infused into their community and therefore their schools. Reggio schools’ founder Loris Malaguzzi said, “When the child sees […]

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Pressing the Pause Button

Pressing Pause: There’s a Blessing for That!

Last month, I talked about spending the summer being present. It’s been going well so far (two weeks in!). For many families, including ours, longer days = more opportunities for togetherness. We get to do the things we can’t or wouldn’t do the rest of the year, like evening trips to the pool or ice […]

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Loving and Mourning

Mourning and Loving in the Same Month

Each summer, there are two Jewish holidays that seem diametrically opposed: Tisha B’Av, the Jewish day of mourning, and Tu B’Av, the Jewish day of love. Why would the Jewish calendar contain two holidays with opposite themes and purposes so close to each other? Tisha B’Av marks several tragedies that affected the Jewish people, including […]

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Sensory-Friendly Purim 2019: Got Questions? Get Answers Here!

You know how you have an idea and then bounce it off the nearest colleague and it grows into a real plan and then it finally comes to fruition and it feels like a dream come true?  That’s how we feel about the Sensory-Friendly Purim Celebrations.  It was a germ of an idea—based on something […]

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