JUF Joyfully Jewish

Flat Joseph

PJ Library Chicago, inspired by the Flat Stanley project and the West Palm Beach Commission for Jewish Education, is bringing to life the Joseph character from the pages of the PJ Library book, Joseph Had a Little Overcoat. The book, written and illustrated by Simms Taback, is a wonderful retelling of the old Jewish folk tale where Joseph's old and tattered coat is recycled and takes the form of increasing smaller forms of clothing.

This webpage was created so that schools, families and the community can track Joseph's journey around Chicagoland's schools. Schools will be blogging their experiences with Joseph each week so make sure to check back with us often!

Flat Joseph

Glasser Preschool, Oak Park

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The Tiger and Bear classes at Glasser Preschool were very excited to meet Flat Joseph. The children were asked what they would like to do with Joseph during his visit. Many wanted to color and do art projects with him, play in the kitchen and cook him food, make challah with him and dress him up. The children enjoyed playing with his clothes. His outfit changed daily. His button was the children's favorite thing to put on him. In addition, Flat Joseph played in the block area. We sang songs and read stories to him.

Flat Joseph visits Glasser

We enjoyed our visit and we hope he enjoys his next adventure. Thanks for spending time with us!

The kids at Glasser

JCC at Am Shalom, Glencoe

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When Flat Joseph arrived at JCC at Am Shalom, the children read his book, Joseph Had a Little Overcoat and tried to figure out exactly who Joseph was. The children came up with very creative thoughts . . . He was a vet because there are animals around him. He was a farmer because there were cows. He has a menorah, so he must be Jewish. He was a tailor because he sewed his clothes. And he wrote a story too and made something out of nothing.

Flat Joseph visits Am Shalom

How could we make something out of nothing? We started a discussion on recycling. One of the children remarked that they finished a toilet paper roll and then used it for an art project

Flat Joseph was visiting us during Purim so we decided to take him with us on our field trip to Gidwitz, where we told the story of Purim and sang Purim songs. We all performed an act of chesed (Hebrew for kindness). He also joined our Shabbat celebration on the bimah and sang songs, lit the candles and said the blessings.

The kids at Am Shalom discuss Flat Joseph

Examining Flat Joseph at Am Shalom

All the children in the 4 year old classes at JCC at Am Shalom really enjoyed their interactive experience with Flat Joseph. We learned some new concepts and reinforced some old ones. We will miss him and hope he comes back for another visit.

Bernard Horwich JCC, Chicago

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Flat Joseph had a fabulous time at the Bernard Horwich JCC! The children were first introduced to Flat Joseph through his stories. We read Joseph Had an Overcoat in Hebrew and English. We compared the books, and noticed how the pages were mirror images of each other. We learned that Joseph's Hebrew name is Yosef. The children were eager to see the contents of Joseph's backpack, and to review his travel binder. It was great to see what Joseph did at all the other preschools.

Reading Joseph Had an Overcoat

Joseph came to us during the very happy month of Adar, and we made sure to include Joseph in all the festivities. Flat Joseph helped us bake Hamentashen, packed up Mishloach Manot baskets, listened to the megillah, marched in our Purim parade and participated in a Purim sing-a-long with our music teacher, Morah Barbie and some of the seniors from the Council for Jewish Elderly. Joseph was such a good sport and even let us dress him up in dozens of different costumes! We really enjoyed getting to know Flat Joseph and wish him the best of luck as he travels to his next destination!

Joseph at Bernard Horwich


Reading Time with Flat Joseph

Gates of Learning Preschool, Glencoe

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It was quite a week with Flat Joseph at Gates of Learning at North Shore Congregation Israel.

While visiting our school, Flat Joseph sang with our music teacher, played outside and ate lunch with everyone. The children offered to share all kinds of foods with him. Flat Joseph joined the science enrichment class and saw the difference between liquids, solids and gases. Wow, did he learn a lot!

Flat Joseph at Gates of Learning

He even participated in our Shabbat sing with Rabbi Greene. He watched as the children gave Tzedakah in one class and baked challah with the children in the enrichment class.

We had been talking about the upcoming holiday of Purim, so we made a cape and a crown for Flat Joseph so he could be the king.

Flat Joseph's journey came to an end at our school and the children all said their good-byes and wished him safe travels to his next school. Thanks for visiting Flat Joseph!