Meet the Shapiro Family of Oakland

PJ Library® Family of the Month

Brooke and Zack Shapiro live with their son Jace (2.5) and baby daughter Rayna (19 weeks) in Oakland. The family moved to the Bay Area from the East Coast in 2015. Brooke’s parents, Lee and Ferne, relocate from Connecticut for half of each year to live with the family and relish time with their grandchildren.

Brook, Rayna, Zack, and Jace Shapiro

The Shapiros appreciate so much about the Bay Area, especially how the weather encourages an outdoor lifestyle. Another thing that Brooke shares her appreciation for is that “the Jewish community here is diverse and inclusive. We love how Jewish families are willing to make new friends.”

A few years ago when Jace was a baby, the Shapiros and a few of their friends with interfaith families started meeting up on Fridays to bring in Shabbat together with wine, challah, snacks, and electric candles. The families said the blessings in between chasing children. This simple community ritual was chaotic and fun. Brooke invited new friends and these gatherings have grown to be embraced by the Jewish Baby Network and local East Bay PJ Library Families.

Brooke and Zack joined Temple Beth Sholom in San Leandro in 2019. The then family of three found this ‘little shul,’ the oldest still standing in the East Bay, to be a kind and welcoming community, committed to kindness and justice. Zack grew up Orthodox and Brooke was raised “Jew-ish”. Together, they found the synagogue to be forward-thinking and focused on building a community for families with young children. Brooke has even joined the congregation’s Board. During the pandemic, there have been ongoing virtual activities from Passover wine tastings to bakery pop-ups and Shabbat services for all ages.

The Oakland Athletics Jewish Heritage Night, an annual event that started in 2011 until it was interrupted by the pandemic last year, has become a special tradition for the Shapiro family. Brooke says, “I love seeing our community organizations coming together to celebrate being Jewish and cheering for the As.”

Stomper, the loveable elephant mascot for the Oakland A’s, shows off the Jewish Heritage Night bobblehead that ticket holders received at the game one year

Brooke’s first introduction to PJ Library was a memorable experience when Jace was born in 2018. Brooke signed her newborn up for PJ Library from her hospital room when he was one day old. The Rabbi from UC Berkeley visited Brooke on Shabbat with a welcome pack for her baby. “I was so excited and emotional that I gave her a hug,” she shared.

Zack, Brooke, and Jace love PJ Library books for the engaging content, pictures, and the values that are presented. For the family, PJ Library has been pivotal in engaging Jace with Jewish holidays. “He has learned to count with 3 Falafels in my Pita, and our family experiences reading PJ Library books together has been magical.” Zack and Brooke donate to PJ Library each year in appreciation for the ongoing monthly gift of celebrating their Jewish identity through PJ Library pages and ongoing PJ Library Bay Area programs that connect families to each other.

PJ Library® sends free Jewish books monthly to children through 8 years of age throughout the Bay Area. Learn More

If you would like to be featured as our Family of the Month, simply fill out this form and we will be in touch!

Categories: Kids & Families


March 02, 2021