PJ Library Get Together grant helps connect families

Thanks to a PJ Library grant, Amanda Rose had a wonderful experience hosting a small Chanukah get together to introduce her non-Jewish friends to the holiday. The Get Together grant, provided by a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, supports families in organizing a Jewish-related event with up to $100. Families can apply for the grant up to three times a year.

“The grant really enhanced the overall experience. I purchased sufganiyot (Israeli donuts) from Bliss Baked Goods, made homemade latkes, played dreidel, and did a beautiful menorah lighting. It was a learning experience for my friends and fun for us to host. It was a lovely evening,” says Amanda.

This was her second time receiving a grant. Her first experience was organizing a Passover seder. With both positive experiences, she encouraged her brother to apply. Amanda says it’s a straightforward process for the Get Together grant. 

“You fill out what it is you want to do and once approved, you organize the event, take a few pictures, and send them back. Then the funds are sent by mail or electronically. It’s as simple as that!” she explains. 

Being able to host traditional Jewish events is very meaningful to Amanda, whose family were the only Jews in the small town of New Brunswick where she is from. She moved to Edmonton about 10 years ago and met her husband, who is not Jewish. By chance, she met Jewish friends who introduced her to the local organizations and resources. The first friend she connected with was Davina Eisenstat.

“I was able to continue many of the traditions out here by joining their families for some of the holidays. It’s been wonderful being in a community where there are a lot more Jewish people,” says Amanda.

When she had her son in 2022, women from the Shalom Baby group reached out by leaving gifts at her doorstep and offering an abundance of support. They also introduced her to PJ Library, where she has since been receiving Jewish-related books monthly for her son and has attended several events to connect with other moms.

Amanda says the connections she has made and the community support she has received make it a lot easier to become involved in Jewish Edmonton. The United Jewish Appeal campaign funds the free books to over 200 children, including Amanda’s son.

“It made me feel a lot more connected to the Jewish community, and just being more aware of the resources and support out there, and how close to home they really are. It’s truly a great community.” she adds.

To learn more about Shalom Baby and PJ Library, reach out to Jenn Magalnick at magalj@edjfed.org.