Dr. Estephan Salameh and Mr. Yazan Megbil passionately told stories about the situation in Palestine today.
The Silent Auction offered 110 items, valued at approximately $14,000.
The Raffle raised $1,600 and three lucky people won: 1) 8 Maine lobsters, 2) dinner for 6 at Al Bawadi restaurant and 3) a $400 cash pot.
We experimented with a "live auction." It was wildly successful. Attendees had an opportunity to bid on an authentic Palestinian dinner, as well as funding for the Cotton Fite Memorial & BJ Wagner Funds and replacement library books. In all, the silent and live auctions together raised more than $35,000.
We heard engaging Palestinian stories from two leaders who reported "from the ground."
Dr. Estephan Salameh Mr. Yazan Meqbil
Read Estephan's entire speech about the current state and future of Seraj here.
Since the inception of Seraj, we have focused on traditional community libraries. This time we are evolving to a national library that preserves the oral history of Palestinian communities. Our next library will be a storytelling center that gives people the opportunity to tell, write and record their stories.
See a clip (2 minutes) of Yazan's speech about his growing up in Palestine here.
“From the book on Jenin's massacre to Socrates important knowledge; a Palestinian emergence through books.”
FUND THE NEED
Galen Burghardt, chair of the Seraj Board's Development Committee, ended the evening with a Live Auction. The idea is simple. Seraj is at a point where we see a whole array of exciting possibilities for effective and vital programs. We see the NEED. Can we step up and FUND these opportunities?
Attendees where given the opportunity to Fund a variety of programs:
Palestinian Storytelling Center (still in design).
Cotton Fite Memorial Fund, which will support the Center.
BJ Wagner Fellows Program, which provides scholarships for our college age volunteers.
Library books, for our 2 new libraries and as replacements for established libraries.
And, the authentic Palestinian Dinner for a Chicago gathering.
Finally, Galen challenged all in attendance to consider a monthly donation to Seraj. Our website makes it easy. Just designate the amount and your credit card will be charged each month. And budgeting and planning will be enhanced for Seraj. Make a monthly/or quarterly commitment here.