B'nai Sholom

Reform Congregation

Albany, NY

Yom Chamishi, 25 Adar 5777

 Valerie Tabak:

Jews are known as The People of the Book. It is our responsibility to assure that learning to read is the right that people in our own community can enjoy and use to improve their ability to lead successful and fulfilling lives.

Books for Babies provides expectant parents with a gift bag containing a board book and literature about the importance of reading to a baby in utero and the positive aspects of reading to children as they develop both prior to and following birth. The project is aimed at families where reading is not a tradition due to educational, language or economic barriers. The literature is based in part on the work that Vera Propp created in the 2970s and used with families in the city of Albany. That body of work is the soul of our project, Vera’s memory is the heart.

Now in its second year, more than 300 books have been provided to families through a local obstetrics practice. The office staff has reported that children have been observed reading to younger siblings in the waiting room and, that the presentation of the bag with its book and literature is a great way to start a conversation with expectant parents about early exposure to literature and talking to your baby.

With funds from the Vera Propp Social Action Fund, the Committee also supports the work of the Capital Region Coalition for Literacy administered through the Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York.   Paperback books are purchased for use by volunteer tutors in the reading program and given to inner city children in Albany and Schenectady.   The Whitney Young Health Center in Albany also receives a yearly donation so that children receive a new book to take home at their yearly check-up.