Empowering Palestinian Villages, One Library at a Time
News from Seraj Library Project
Building Resilient Communities
A new Library in the Jordan Valley
A Matching Challenge for Wagner Fellow Scholarships
Education is not the filling of a pail,
but the lighting of a fire.
William Butler Yeats
Jiflek Celebrates Seraj's 8th Library
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.
Triple your Scholarship Gift
with a 2 for 1 Matching Challenge!
Inspired by stories of the BJ Wagner Fellows a generous donor couple has challenged us to raise $5,000 in support of the Program by the end of our fiscal year (June 30). They have pledged to match 2 for 1 every dollar we raise for the Fellows – which means if we raise the 5k they will match it with 10k for a total or $15,000, enough to fund the fall semester of Wagner Fellows.
These young adult college and university students bring creative energy and mentoring relationships to Seraj children in each of our libraries – at the same time they are helped to pay tuitions that are a stretch for many Palestinian families. In some cases they would not be able to continue their education without this help. Meet Rinad fom Burham, one of our Fellows, who volunteers at the Burham Library (click to view the video).
One BJ Wagner Fellow, now a university graduate, continues to volunteer at her library and to take off work to attend Seraj events. I will continue to come to all events because I'm so thankful and I believe in the library.
Your gift will help us reach our goal of $5,000 which, matched 2 for 1, will total $15,000 and provide another semester of BJ Wagner Fellows. Mail your check to Seraj, with Scholarship written in the memo line, to Seraj Library Project, 636 N. Harvey, Oak Park, IL 60302 or go to the Seraj website to donate online.
And thank you!
The 2017 Seraj Benefit
Sunday, October 15
Featuring Guest Speaker
Yes, the Benefit is at a new time, on a new day, at a new venue. Sunday afternoon, with doors opening at 3:45 and dinner at 5, at the Chateau Ritz in Niles. More accessible from different parts of metropolitan Chicago, a spacious banquet hall and plenty of parking. Silent auction; raffle; delicious dinner served family style; and a great program.
We are most pleased that Hamed Qawasmeh, a Palestinian Human Rights Activist from Hebron has accepted our invitation to be guest speaker at the Benefit. Hamed is the Founder of the Hebron International Resources Network, most of whose work centers on education, made accessible to all. HIRN:Working Together: Across Generations, Across Genders, Across Religions, For a Better Future.
Mark your calendar now! More information later this summer.