February 28, 2020

How to raise our Mormon child Jewishly? Start with PJ Library

Our 17-month-old daughter’s greatest joy in life is having us read her many books to her in both English and Romanian. From Dr. Seuss to Sesame Street and the interactive Little Simon books, she is entranced by the written word and accompanying pictures. Imagine our (and her) joy, then, to receive our first book from PJ Library (“Where is the Afikomen?”) this week.

PJ Library is a wonderful nonprofit organization that sends families free Jewish children’s literature and music every month. Because Jews and Judaism have been such a central influence in my life, I would very much like to expose our children to Jewish culture, religion and values from an early age. My brother attended a Jewish nursery school, and I would be very open to having my kids spend at least part of their academic career at a Jewish school.

My wife Florina had two Jewish employers when she lived in London, and has a very positive image of Jews. In fact, we met at a Mormon chapel in Romania where she had come to attend a speech that I was giving on Mormons and Jews. Israel is at the top of our list of countries to visit together. There are over 400,000 Israelis of Romanian descent, and when she finally gets there, Florina will be pleasantly surprised to discover that Romania is not the only country where celebrants dance the hora or refer to suckers as “fraiers.”

Our daughter is currently learning two languages, and we plan to add Russian (the other language that Florina and I can both speak) and Hebrew in a few years. Reading the Hebrew Bible in its original language is a great blessing, one that I intend to share with my progeny.

I have long believed that parents who wish to teach their children to have high moral standards should have them study Jewish history and Judaism. PL Library’s materials make it that much easier to introduce these ideas to children at a very young age. For this reason my lovely wife and I are profoundly grateful to PJ Library for its generosity and support.