Families experience Chicago in new, Jewish ways

Looking for additional ways to spend quality, Jewish-infused time with your family? Here are two family-friendly options…

PJ on the Town 
Joyfully Jewish Programs is launching PJ On the Town, a series of seven family-friendly programs happening between September 2012 and  June, 2013. The "PJ" is a take on JUF's popular PJ Library program, in which 6,100 families are currently receiving free Jewish books and music thanks to local donors, the Grinspoon Foundation and JUF.

PJ on the Town aims to bring Chicago-area families together to celebrate Jewish life and create Jewish experiences at notable Chicago destinations. Each of the seven programs is co-hosted by a partner institution in the community in an effort to encourage families to connect with one another and with the rich Jewish educational offerings in Chicago. PJ on the Town is generously funded in part by the Schorr-Lieberman Family Foundation in memory of their beloved parents, Mel Lieberman and Phyllis Schorr-Lieberman.

A Birthday Party for the World!-a celebration of the Jewish New Year will kick off the PJ on the Town program. On Sunday, Sept. 23 at the Morton Arboretum, families with young children are invited to drop-in between 10:00am - 1:00pm for family-friendly activities such as music, arts and crafts a birthday cake celebration, shofar-making workshop and an interactive scavenger hunt throughout the Arboretum. This event is co-sponsored by JUF Right Start, JUF's Jewish preschool voucher program which offers the first child in a family up to $1,000 for choosing a participating Jewish preschool.

Visit www.juf.org/birthday for more information.

The second event in the PJ on the Town series is a celebration of Noah's Ark at the Lincoln Park Zoo on Sunday, Oct. 14. This PJ on the Town program will provide families with a morning of entertainment and rich Jewish content providing them with a unique zoo visit.

Upcoming events include a Family Latke Ball at the Takiff Center in Glencoe, Hanukkah Happenings at the Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills, Jammin' with the Trees at the Garfield Park Conservatory as well as two additional events in the Spring. Partnerships are currently in formation.

To learn more about PJ on the Town and other JUF Joyfully Jewish initiatives, visit www.juf.org/joyfullyjewish, call (312) 357-4851 or "like" PJ Library Chicago on Facebook.

Hands on Heroes: Saving the World Once Mitzvah At A Time 
Hands on Heroes is a NEW program that offers families with young children the opportunity to do mitzvot (good deeds) together. Each month new projects are offered, ranging from cleaning up Chicago's beaches to delivering food to those in need to playing bingo with retirement home residents. Whatever the project, Hands on Heroes provides families-moms, dads, grandparents, and kids-with meaningful and age-appropriate opportunities to take part in tikkun olam (repairing the world) together. This program is a partnership between JUF Joyfully Jewish and the Tikkun Olam Volunteer Network (TOV).

Participate in the first Hands on Heroes project on Sunday, Sept. 9 by delivering Rosh Hashanah food packages to Jews in need together with Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago. More than 5,000 meals will need to be delivered for the holiday. Volunteers are encouraged to spend time with the recipients of the packages, making this an ideal family activity. Upcoming Hands on Heroes projects include a beach clean-up at Foster Beach, an Uptown Cafe experience, Brentwood North Healthcare & Rehabilitation Centre pet visit and more.

Learn more at the TOV hotline at (312) 357-4762 or email TOV@juf.org.

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