April 13, 2024
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Book Sale to Raise Funds for Shalva

“I find it very rewarding making difficult lives easier,” says Deena Winchester. The Ma’ayanot junior who has done work for Friendship Circle spent this past summer in Israel with Bnei Akiva. She was part of the Mach Hach Ba’Aretz program. While there, Deena got involved with Shalva.

Shalva was founded in 1990 by Kalman and Malki Samuels. It is the Association for Mentally and Physically Challenged Children in Israel. It provides quality care and support to children with special needs and their families. Shalva operates a range of therapeutic and recreational programs, from infancy to adulthood. It is non-denominational and free of charge. Shalva has two facilities, including one in Yerushalayim and one in Gush Etzion.

Deena was impressed with Shalva and how it “helps kids to lead more normative lives.” Deena went on: “These kids have a home away from home no matter their ethnicity or religion, and Shalva is open to everyone, which makes it unique.”

Shalva is involved with the Jerusalem Marathon. In the 2014 Jerusalem Marathon, Team Shalva was the largest organized group with over 350 people running for the association. In fact, the marathon is one of the major ways that Shalva raises funds for its association. Daniel Kolat of Teaneck is a development executive at Shalva who has been with them for over a year and came to the charity from the business world. He says of his work at Shalva, “It’s a joy to come to work every day and feel like you are making a difference.”

Kolat’s job primarily revolves around recruiting participants for the marathon. Due to Kolat’s efforts Shalva now has 12 high schools (last year they had three) in addition to many other groups that will be running for it in the marathon. Ma’ayanot is one such school. In order for a high school to participate, the school has to supply a chaperone who will recruit and supervise the students. In addition, there must be a minimum of 10 students who commit to running in the marathon. High school students need to raise $2,700 in order to participate in the marathon (college students and adults must raise $3,000). Last year, via the Jerusalem Marathon, Shalva raised $500,000, and this year they expect to raise more.

Since coming home from Israel, Deena has wanted to stay involved with Shalva. The marathon was the perfect route due so. Deena, who describes herself as “not so coordinated,” has always loved running. In fact, she joined her school’s track team last year. However, Deena is a sprinter. Determined to participate in the Jerusalem Marathon, Deena has begun training and plans on being ready to run a 10K (just over 6 miles) when the marathon is held on Friday, March 13.

The greater challenge, as Deena sees it, is raising the $2700 in order to qualify. To raise the money, Deena has organized a book sale. Kolat says of Deena and her book sale, “She should be an inspiration to us all for her creative way to raise money.” Kolat added that a few of the high schools have sought out interesting ways to raise money, including a basketball tournament and a Frisbee tournament.

Deena’s book sale will take place from 12–4 on Sunday, December 7th at Congregation Ahavat Achim in Fair Lawn. In order to spark interest and get donations, Deena put up flyers in kosher establishments and at Ma’ayanot.and spoke to friends. “The books have been donated by students and teachers at Ma’ayanot. Also, many came from people in the Fair Lawn community,” said Deena.

Deena began collecting books in the beginning of November and currently has over 500 books. Most books will go for $5. However, there are many children’s books and some will go for as low as 25 cents. Deena has managed to collect a great variety of books. She said, “Everyone who comes could find a book.” Leftover books will be sold on Amazon. There will be some puzzles and games available for sale as well.

As Deena readies for the book sale, she is excited to be raising funds for Shalva. Deena believes strongly in Shalva’s mission. In fact, she is a natural fit for the organization as she is committed to “making sure that no matter what problems the kids may have that they are happy.” One day, the teen hopes to be a genetics counselor.

One hundred percent of what is raised by Deena and the other runners goes to Shalva. That’s because corporate sponsors underwrite the cost of the trip including the flight and the hotel. So, consider buying a book and helping Deena help Shalva.

To learn more about Shalva, go to shalva.org. To donate to the marathon, go to run4shalva.org

By Larry Bernstein

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