How PJ Library United This Interfaith Family

PJ Library sends Jewish children’s books to families and helps them connect to their Jewish heritage in a fun and meaningful way. Thanks to Claire and David Ellman, all new and increased donations to PJ Library, through our Shalom San Diego program, will be matched! Today, you can double your impact and help us reach even more children and help connect families to their Jewish heritage. (Be sure to designate your gift to Building an Inclusive Community, so that we know to double your impact!)

My name is Lori Shearer. I was raised Roman Catholic, and my husband was raised Jewish. Before we got married, we decided we would raise our children Jewish. After the amazingly meaningful bris ceremony, my pediatrician gave me a business card with Shalom Baby contact information. Soon, I joined a Shalom Baby group with Jewish families and connected with Judy Nemzer, the nurturing director of Shalom Baby. I met families through playgroup, programs and classes; these families have become part of our family.

A special memory is when my son was 5 months old; a gathering for Shalom Baby families in the Sukkah was planned at the JCC. I was familiar with Passover and Chanukah, but holidays like Sukkot and Tu B’Shevat were new to me.

There I was, a Christian with a Jewish baby, saying the prayers with me holding the lulav and etrog in the Sukkah. It brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it. Judy took a picture of my baby and me in the Sukkah to send to my mother-in-law who was apprehensive about having a grandchild raised by a non- Jewish mother.

We were introduced to PJ Library books, which have provided me, a non-Jewish mom raising a Jewish child a roadmap to establish our Jewish family traditions at home and a way for my son and me to learn together about Jewish life. Story by story, page by page, these books have been our guidance to celebrating Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

There aren’t words to express the joy of the journey we experienced, from receiving a book in the mail that led to us creating our own meaningful Jewish family tradition. I made a Tu B’Shevat Seder, invited another family over, and read A Tree Is Nice to the kids.

What kindness and support I have received from Shalom Baby, PJ Library and now that my son is 5, we participate in Little Mensches.  We never miss a Little Mensches event, they have created such a meaningful program for our families in the community.

The best way I can repay my debt of gratitude is to raise a little mensch who loves Jewish learning and performing acts of kindness. He is a happy and kind Jewish boy.


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