It's Called Shabbat!

By Stacey Battat
PJ Library of Greater New Haven
Finding family time to JUST BE is one of the many reasons why Shabbat has held such a sacred space in Jewish tradition. With the noise of our modern lives, it also has the power to maintain our sanity while giving our children an unplugged, technology-free ritual they can truly look forward to. 

This spring, PJ Library and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven supported a local effort to help our PJ families celebrate Shabbat through the “Shabbat in the Hood” program. Three families in the PJ community hosted three other families for Shabbat dinner in their homes. Each group reported having rich and connecting experiences and plans to “do Shabbat” together more often. For many of the hosts, this was their first experience inviting other families into their homes for Shabbat.

In my own home, the children in our Shabbat dinner group bonded as they grew up, enjoying this down time until they went off to college. Now, they continue to host their own Shabbat dinners into young adulthood!

As an exciting next step in the effort of supporting family-based Jewish experiences, New Haven was selected by PJ Library national to be one of 33 communities in the United States for a special “Get Together” grant. This micro-grant of $150 will be sent directly to recipients who wish to create Jewish family events together. Many of our local community members have applied to host Shabbat dinners, outings, challah baking events, and even Havdallah bonfires this summer!

If you are a PJ Library family and enjoy the books, please help us spread the good word. PJ is a no-membership required, no obligation avenue for taking baby steps into Jewish life. Families with a variety of Jewish knowledge learn about Jewish life together through the monthly installment of PJ Library books. One PJ parent in our community calls this “the magic in the mailbox.” 

In addition to home-based rituals, you can celebrate Shabbat and Jewish experiences with your Greater New Haven PJ Library community. For a unique Shabbat experience, please join us on August 11th at Walnut Beach in Milford for Shabbat on the Beach! Families with young children are invited to come together for a fun, musical celebration with PJ Library’s Stacey Battat and Congregation Or Shalom’s Rabbi Wainhaus.

Enjoy the simple gifts of sand, sea and sky as we bring in the sweet sounds, smells, and tastes of Shabbat! Bring your own kosher or kosher-style dinner, your pails, shovels, and beach blanket and spend the evening with your PJ Library community!

FRIDAY, AUG 11th, 4-8 p.m. 
Walnut Beach Pavilion, 85 
Viscount Dr, Milford
A brief music program will begin at 6 p.m. 
RSVP to Stacey Battat,, 
(203) 387-2424, x317 

Please check the PJ Library facebook page in case of cancellation due to rain.


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