After reading The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan, the group wanted to raise some money for the preschool at Open House in Ramle Israel. One of our members had a business of taking children’s artwork and making the pictures into note cards to raise money for schools. She suggested we get artwork from the children, make cards, sell them and send the money to Open House.
Another member had met Dalia on her trip to Israel with Rabbis for Human Rights and she wrote Dalia about the idea. Dalia arranged for us to get artwork by the preschoolers and the teens. The teens were asked to draw their image of peace. We received the art, chose 5 preschool pieces and 5 teen pieces of art. We met with the printer, decided on the formatting and were ready to go to press.
We wanted to be able to tell people ALL of the money from the sale of the cards was going to Open House. So we talked to interested supporters and raised the money to pay for the printing.
We began the sale of the cards at Arabesque, a local Middle East café run by the Arab Israeli member of our group. A local artist heard about our project and painted her rendition of the House that we auctioned off. We had a huge turn out and sold Sandy Tolan’s book as well as the cards. The local bookstore let us keep 15% of the sales that night. It was a big success. We also found local stores willing to display our flyer and sell cards without taking a cut. In one year we sold 440 packets of cards and raised over $9000 for Open House. Some people gave donations and hence we raised more than the sale of the 440 packets of cards would have generated.
We encourage book clubs to read the book and this also became a good source for card sales. Some out-of-town friends also sold cards through their book groups.
Dalia honored us by coming to Boulder to thank us. She took some cards back to Israel. They are reproducing them in Israel to sell at Open House. So the project continues to raise money for their programs.
We continue to meet monthly. We all agreed that the cards were a worthwhile project as working together laid the foundation for trust and openness that carried over into our discussions. Our meetings now focus on our learning from each other as we read, watch films and share news articles on the history and current events of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
In 2014 we took on a second project, organizing A Walk for Peace and Solidarity. This event was on 9/11/2014, the one year anniversary of the flood in Boulder. Water was our theme and we asked each clergy to speak about this from their faith’s perspective.
The Walk was a big success and we decided to make it an annual event focusing on bringing people together to build bridges across different groups in Boulder.