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PJ Library partners with The Florida Orchestra for family-friendly event




PJ Library partners with orchestra for family-friendly event

A full house of children and adults joined The Florida Orchestra at The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art on Sunday, Feb. 2.

PJ Library of the Jewish Federation of Florida’s Gulf Coast was beyond pleased to present its inaugural event of The Florida Orchestra’s Storytime Series.

“We were so excited to partner with the Florida Orchestra and to put on this musical event in conjunction with Celebration of the Arts St. Petersburg,” said Alex Sembler, young family outreach and program coordinator for PJ Library.

Children’s’ imaginations ran wild as they listened to “Peter and the Wolf” musically combing great entertainment, fun and even a little culture of sharing Jewish values.

Music lovers of all ages were able to hear how each of the five instruments; the flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn; played characters in the narrated fairytale.

“We loved the program,” said Merina Bendick, mother of PJ Library participants and employee at Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services. “In my opinion, music education is vital at that age for developing all-around intellectual person, who can feel and empathize with the people and that what music can teach our kids and us.”

After the first and second performances, children and families enjoyed an instrument petting zoo where children in the audience could take the instruments for a test drive, snacks, LEGO and coloring crafts, while connecting to other families in our community. The instrument petting zoo is part of the orchestra’s annual family concert, which invites families to introduce them to the music and instruments featured onstage.

“The great variety of programs from PJ Library are wonderful and enriching for our children,” said Livia Wein. “This week my grandchildren enjoyed the hands-on instrument petting zoo and Peter and the Wolf with the narrator, and the adults did too.”

Children between the ages of 6 months to 8 years can receive books through PJ Library. Although 8 is technically the cut-off age, PJ Library began PJ Our Way for children 9 to 11 to continue to receive free stories.

PJ Library is an award-wining national program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation that is made possible through partnerships with philanthropists and local Jewish organizations. Originally serving Western Massachusetts only, it was created in December 2005 as a Jewish engagement and literacy program for Jewish and interfaith families with young children.

It provides free Jewish children’s books each month to families with children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years old. The program’s next chapter, PJ Our Way, has age-appropriate books available for children ages 9-11.

The Jewish Federation of Florida’s Gulf Coast is one of more than 155 communities to participate in the PJ Library program. Contact Alex Sembler at for more information on upcoming PJ Library events.

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