Middle East 3:45 AM 3/7/2014
Inside Israel 12:16 AM 3/7/2014
Middle East 4:45 AM 3/7/2014
Life Lessons with Judy Simon
Paula R. Stern is CEO and founder of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company offering documentation services and training seminars. She made aliyah in 1993 when her oldest son was 6 years old. In March 2007, her son Elie entered the Artillery Division of the Israeli army and Paula began writing about her experiences as A Soldier’s Mother. The blog continues as Elie begins Reserve Duty and her son Shmulik is now a soldier. She recently opened a publishing house, helping other authors fulfill their dream to publish.
Links to the Author's blogs:
Jews have been called the people of the book, and for a good reason. From an early age, we are instilled with a love of the written word. All truths can be found in books, and a fair amount of lies as well. Even centuries ago when illiteracy rates were very high, Jewish children were taught to read. Most Jews I know amass a large library of books. I once walked around my house and realized that in almost every room, I have hundreds of books - bedrooms, living room, hallways.
I have a cookbook collection with easily over 100 books; we have religious books, funny books, novels, dictionaries, encyclopedias and more. I'm a sucker for a book and a book sale. So, many months ago, when a friend came up with a brilliant idea for raising money for charity, I agreed to get involved. The concept is so simple, so brilliant.
I live in a country where the main language is Hebrew. For those of us who came here later in life with English as our mother tongue, we struggle to keep ourselves "in the book" - with enough to fill our time. I can't go to sleep at night without reading for a while. Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night and the fastest way to go back to sleep is to read for a while.
So - my brilliant friend came up with the brilliant idea that we swap books - for charity. We did the first one in my backyard and raised well over $1,000 in one night and all the money was immediately donated to charity. We did another a few months later and raised about twice that amount; and we did it again last night to the benefit of several local charities.
Here's how it works. You put out a call to your friends and neighbors - give me your old books, the stacks that have been sitting there, the books you've read and don't want, the extras. Thousands of books came pouring in.
Then, you put out a call in your community telling them about the event. For each book a person donated, they can take another one for some nominal fee (we charged 5 shekels or about $1.30 for each donated book swap and 10 shekels or about $2.60 per book if you didn't donate one to cover the swap). And, you announce that all the money is going to benefit charity. In this case, we chose several local charities - an organization that gives food and assistance to needy people, an organization that promotes English literacy among children, a youth camp for children from families that needed this extra attention, etc.).
And the results - once again, stagger us...
They came, they swapped, they appreciated it. For a people who love the book, the books were consumed. So, if you live in a place where people love to read and you want to raise money for a deserving cause, consider the Book Swap - and special kudos to Bat Aliyah - the inspiration, dedication, and drive behind this brilliant event (and a heck of a friend!).
Tonight begins a day that I dreaded every year that I had a son in the standing army of Israel. The first and second year, I gave in to cowardice and allowed myself to stay home rather than join hundreds of thousands of Israelis at ceremonies all over Israel. I felt that I had done enough, in sending a son to the army and didn’t have to torture myself more, endlessly imagining, thinking, worrying. I didn’t have to face this day, this possibility and worse, this reality that so many families face. I crowned myself an ostrich and hid away trying to think of anything but tens of thousands of families suffering, crying, remembering, mourning.
Each week, someone does an amazing round up of some great blogs related to Israel, Judaism, related events and more. It's called Haveil Havalim and it switches hosts each week. This week, I volunteered to do it. Yeah, I know - I'm insane. But to make sure I didn't miss the deadline, I've been stealing a few minutes each day to do something I love doing (and never make the time to do). I've been reading blogs!
What a wonderful world of knowledge, of sharing! I knew I would love this - and I was right. It's a fun opportunity to read some blogs I've never visited, get back to ones I've missed reading but always know I'll enjoy, and more. So please join me on a brief trip around the Jewish/Israeli world of blogging.
You can read it here: http://israelisoldiersmother.blogspot.com/2012/03/haveil-havalim-349.html