May 31st was a celebrative day in Jiflek, a Palestinian village of about 6,000 in the Jordan Valley. The dedication of Seraj's eighth library began with speeches from Jiflek's young mayor, from Rasheed, representing Jordan Valley Solidarity, Estephan for Seraj, and Zainab, a "bright and fiery"woman speaking for the Sanabel Al Reef women's organization. Those from Jiflek spoke of the struggles they face for water, jobs and schools. Estephan spoke of how reading allows us to travel anywhere without restrictions. No checkpoints! Each one thanked Jim and Mary Eleanor and all our US supporters.
Zainab may have summed it up best: This library is a safe place and a bright spot for children to explore the outside world, develop self reliance, work for the betterment of their community.
This eighth Seraj Library was completed with financial support from Jim and Mary Eleanor Wall and from others honoring them for the critical role they played in the founding of Seraj. This library is an achievement made possible not only by those providing financial support but also by many working together to make a better life for the children and families of Jiflek. As we're learning, collaboration brings wider involvement, greater creativity, better staying power. And it helps build resilient communities.
Tours of the library followed the speeches with people crowding around books, exploring different subjects and titles. Culinary hospitality began with dates stuffed with walnuts followed by Maqluba, Palestine's favorite meal. Laurie described the day: It was a lovely and inspirational community event. Our library and the space around it provided the right environment for people to gather and dream of a better future for their children.
The Jordan Valley
Seraj Library Project