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PJ Library launches Sephardic Stories Initiative to increase representation among Mizrahi communities

PJ Library’s Author Stewardship Team, headed by Catriella Freedman, invited seven experienced and published authors of Sephardic and Mizrahi backgrounds to, over a two-year period, create stories inspired by their own experiences.

Sephardic Stories Initiative authors. Photo courtesy of PJ Library.
Sephardic Stories Initiative authors. Photo courtesy of PJ Library.


As part of their ongoing mission to represent the diversity of North American Jewish communities through the books they send to families, PJ Library, one of the largest free book programs in the world, has just launched a multi-year Sephardic Stories Initiative in conjunction with a generous grant and guidance from the Seattle-based Samis Foundation.  The objective is to elevate the types of Jewish stories told to include the Sephardic and Mizrahi communities, cultures and traditions.

PJ Library’s Author Stewardship Team, headed by Catriella Freedman, invited seven experienced and published authors of Sephardic and Mizrahi backgrounds over a two-year period to create stories inspired by their own experiences; inaugural authors invited include Arnon Shorr, Etan M. Basseri, Gail Carson Levine, Ruth Behar, Sarah Aroeste, Terri Libenson and Yehudi Mercado.

The first year of the program includes online meetings, access to Sephardic experts to assist with research and an all-expense-paid trip to Israel (currently on hold). The second year will see the seven authors mentoring 20 to 40 emerging authors. The final component is a Sephardic Stories manuscript prize; the winner will receive a financial prize and a PJ Publishing contract.

If interested in covering the story, we can offer interviews or quotes from Catriella Freedman, along with one or more of the selected authors and Al Maimon, a Samis Foundation trustee.

About PJ Library

A free program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, PJ Library sends engaging storybooks and activities that provide fun and easy ways for families to connect with Jewish life. PJ Library’s high-quality books have become everyday favorites of kids from birth through age 12, whether the stories serve as first introductions to Jewish values and culture or inspire families to create new Jewish traditions at home. More than 670,000 books are delivered to families worldwide each month.

To find out more, visit pjlibrary.org.

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