Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Yom Ha’Atzmaut with the Author

This past Sunday I had the privilege of participating in a live video “Q&A with the Author.” These twelve 5th graders attending the Congregation Har Shalom Religious School located in Fort Collins, Colorado, appeared on my computer screen (and I on theirs) in order to engage in a pre-Yom Ha’Atazmaut celebration that entailed asking an Israeli-American children’s author why she moved to Israel 31 years ago, what she likes the most about Israel, which holiday she likes celebrating the most, plus a host of other well thought-out questions dealing with life in Israel, as well as my writing. This live electronic event was one of the more memorable episodes of my sabbatical year here in the States and it has prompted me to create my own Yom Ha’Atzmaut custom. From now on I will do up to five live “Q&A with the Author” on life in Israel during the days around Yom Ha’Atzmaut.

Perhaps it’s the Shaliach inside of me, but when school librarian Judy Peterson (pictured here with the class) told me how hard it is to get kids to connect with Israel, I spontaneously suggested we hold this live meeting using Skype. The truth is she wasn’t the first to express this concern. I’ve been hearing it all year, wherever I go. This time around I instinctively felt that a small school so far away deserved attention. I was right. Here’s what Judy emailed me later that day:

Hi Tami,
It was such a pleasure to meet you "face to face" today! The kids really enjoyed the conversation, as did I. You answered their questions so thoughtfully and fully and really gave them some things to think about. I hope you enjoyed the conversation as well and that it gave you an idea of what kind of misperceptions these kids have about Israel.
It's so wonderful when we can employ modern technology in the education of our children, and for our kids to "meet" good Jewish role models such as yourself. If you’re willing, maybe we can do something similar again next year.
Best regards…Judy Petersen

I’ve already told Judy that she’s on for next year. There will be new fifth graders with new questions about Israel. If you’re interested in helping me get this custom more widespread contact me:tami@tlwkidsbooks.com

In the meantime, Chag Sameach….Tami

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