Monday, November 5, 2012

Israeli Author Visits US, Part 1, Seattle

Dr. Adina Bar-el, author of more than 16 children's books and 2 book for adults and many, many stories for all ages, is visiting the TIPS Partnership 2Gether communities in the U.S. of Seattle, Tucson, and Phoenix.

After adjusting for jet lag, she began her presentations by leading a workshop for 20+ Jewish school teachers in Seattle.  Her presentation focused on how to teach about Israel through books, and she uses a number of her stories as models.  She also talked about using books for bibliotherapy and how it is used in Israel, especially for children living near the borders.
The next morning she talked to three different groups of children at SJCS, Seattle Jewish Community School.  With the younger children, she read her stories and interacted with them.  With the 4th and 5th graders, she discussed the process of making a book/story from the inspiration to publication.
Reading a story to SJCS first graders
While she was out, Moshe was treated to a visit to the Museum of Flight.

Shortly after dinner, Adina spoke to more than 2 dozen 4th graders at Temple Beth Am.  She gave a picture presentation on how her moshav has changed from is founding in 1949 when new immigrants from cities in Europe arrived in Israel and were trucked to the northern Negev desert to farm.  Her presentation also showed how they struggled but prospered to today.  Adina and her husband have 700 olive trees and produce olive oil.  The TBA students were delighted to see a YouTube video on how the olives were harvested and asked to see it a second time!
Adina presenting at TBA
Adina with two of the 4th grade teachers at TBA

Wednesday morning while it rained hard, Adina caught up on laundry and e-mail correspondence while Moshe took the bus down town with Howard C.  and visited the art museum.  That afternoon Adina spoke to two high school English classes at NYHS (Northwest Yeshiva High School).  One group was reading the book Maus, so Adina talked about her parents' experiences during the Holocaust and also about the efforts and rewards of being a writer.  Students met her after class as they wanted to have more time with her.

Thursday, Adina spoke to four groups at SHA, Seattle Hebrew Academy.  She talked to them about what goes in to writing stories and books, the history of her Moshav, and read a number of her stories to them.  With the younger children who are studying Hebrew through the Tel-Am program, she interdispersed Hebrew words as she read to them. Adina was very impressed by one first grader who told her that he has already written twenty stories!
Adina in front of Seattle Hebrew Academy

That night, Adina and Moshe spoke to a number of local TIPS volunteers and some Federation staff at the home of Lorna Isenberg.

Friday morning, Adina left the house at 7:30 to go to Bellevue to speak to three groups at the Jewish Day School of Metropolitan Seattle (JDS), including the 8th grade class, many of whose members will be in Kiryat Malachi during their trip to Israel in May.

Adina was impressed by the attentiveness of the children and teens in every setting where she spoke.  The were active participants and several times gave her great ideas for future stories.  She was impressed that two different children noticed something in one of her books that she had not seen before.  One of her illustrators added a picture story to the book with a dog on each page.  The children were able to seen special things two of the dogs were doing that she had never noticed before.

Friday night, Moshe and Adina had a nice Shabbat dinner with their hosts, Dina Tanners, and Howard Cockerham, and enjoyed the company of their friends Leslie and Harold.

Saturday night, a dozen local Jewish writers came to the home and had a wonderful experience listening and dialoging with Adina.  Several had ideas for how she can publish her stories in English.

Sunday morning was Adina's last scheduled school visit at TDHS, Temple de Hirsh Sinai.  First, for an hour she spoke to 20+ parents of religion school students about her life and the development of her moshav.  She also had read aloud four of her stories.  Parents really enjoyed them and were disappointed that she did not have a book of her stories in English for them to buy.

  After that, Adina spoke to the 5th grade class about how she writes books.

Adina recently finished translating Alice in Wonderland from English into Yiddish.   She was astounded and delighted to find out that Ron H, one of the 5th grade teachers at TDHS, has translated Alice into another language, Anglo-Saxon.

After visiting the Sunday Fremont Flea Market and seeing the Ballard Government Locks, Adina rushed home to meet with Prof. Naomi Sokoloff, Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of Washington.  A post-doctoral fellow at the U could not attend, but he knew of Dr. Adina Bar-el and read her research when he wrote his doctoral thesis!  What a small world it is.

In addition to all these speaking events, Adina and her husband Moshe also were taken to see Snoqualmie Falls, saw the spectacular downtown library, walked along the waterfront and went to Ye Old Curiosity Shoppe, visited Costco, Macy's, and Burlington Coat Factory, handed out candy on Halloween,  drove through the University of Washington and saw the spectacular color of the fall leaves in Seattle. 

At Snoqualmie Falls

They met many many people, and hope to be in contact with a number of them in the future.  Thank you Adina and Moshe for all that you have given to the Seattle Jewish Community!

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