Seeing "ActionIsrael" in Action!

October 2014

I have edited this website for eight years, but not until last week did I actually see the "Books for Israel" project being put into action! When project co-ordinator Myrna Silverberg asked me to join two "visitors" to Israel who were going to see one of the schools which had recently benefited from a donation of books, I jumped at the chance. I put "visitors" in inverted commas, because one of them, Tami Knopping of Denver, Colorado, is deeply involved in "ActionIsrael", and has far more inside knowledge about how the books are collected, brought to Israel, and used than most locals. As you can see from these webpages, Tami has come to Israel and visited schools on a number of occasions. This time she was accompanied by a friend, Niki Hyde, who also participates in the Denver "ActionIsrael" project.

The school we visited was the high school of Iksal, a Moslem village neighbouring Nazareth. According to English teacher Eman Darawshi, Iksal has three primary schools, two junior-highs and a high school. Most of the 750 students in the high school are of low-intermediate socio-economic status, and have no exposure to other cultures and religions. English is considered their fourth language. Donations of books to the school are very much appreciated. Eman introduced us to her 10th grade students, who were giving powerpoint presentations of book reports, based upon books that had been received from "Books for Israel". Personally, I'd like to remark that, as a former teacher-educator and having visited schools all over Israel, I found these presentations to be of a very high standard, particularly from the point of view of English fluency.

Watch the video!
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Following our visit to the school, we were taken on a tour of the village, and, finally, met up with Ilan Bar-Shalom, husband of Jade of blessed memory, who, together with Jade and her sister Rena, played a vital role in setting up and running "Books for Israel".

Thank you, Myrna, for a wonderful day. I was witness to superb English teaching, enthusiastic book-drive organizers, and exemplary use of the books that are being donated to Israeli schools through the "Books for Israel" project.

Batya Fonda
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Post Script - Letter to Myrna from Eman Darawshi, the English teacher, following our visit:

Dear Myrna,

I'm really so happy today because I received three nice messages, from you, Niki and Tami. Your visit was emotionally influential because you made me feel proud of my hard work and you gave my students the opportunity to express their hidden potential . All of them, including the less achievers, did a great job, and they all were enthusiastic and charismatic. You have no idea how much their reading habits have improved and even changed: most of them ask if they can borrow books once a week, and some students even take out books every two or three days - long books, can you imagine that? They've gone from not reading at all to reading very frequently.

The day I spent with you was one of the most memorable days in my life and, I'm sure, in my students' lives. I hope that we'll stay in touch. Please drop me a line every now and then, and you are welcome to visit me whenever you want.

Sincerely yours,
Eman Darawshi