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Binyamina move means the book stops here

Photo by Rev Stan www.flickr.com

In 2008, Edward Sidi, then Chairman of ESRA Caesarea-Zichron, was searching for ideas to fundraise for ESRA in their area. He had been offered a donation of books from an English- speaker who was moving to smaller accommodation. This set him thinking about opening a second-hand bookshop, which he suggested to the committee. Elaine Rosenberg, who was an active member of ESRA and a volunteer with Meir Panim in Or Akiva, had an idea. The assistance given to the needy with food, clothing and other second-hand goods by Meir Panim is organized from a large storeroom in the back streets of the town. Elaine succeeded in setting up the ESRA Bookshop there. A corner of the store was assigned to ESRA in return for 25% of the income from the books, which would be donated to Meir Panim.

And there it was - the ESRA Bookshop. At first it consisted of four sets of simple shelving in one corner of the depot installed by a couple of the muscle-men on the committee. Within a short time these shelves were filled up with a generous number of donated books and more shelves had to be added, eventually reaching 15 in number. The news got around and sales rose at an amazing rate. Just as the bookshop shelves multiplied over time, so did the amount of food required by the needy. There were days when the food supplies spilt over into the bookshop area and it was difficult to keep the space clean and inviting, a place in which to browse and search for the book that suited the taste of the readers.

For months the committee looked for another suitable place free of charge. The new shopping mall in Binyamina had opened and was gradually filling up with shops and cafes. Jane Krivine, the local ESRA Chairperson who lives in Binyamina, found an area there that could be rented and would suit. So the decision was made to move the bookshop, with the hope that it would attract more customers and also draw more interest in ESRA. Binyamina is the center of Five Towns, an area which is growing in popularity for younger families and new immigrants, many of whom are English speaking – and hopefully our objectives will be achieved.

The shelving has been professionally installed and again there are too many books, but an official opening sale is planned. In the meantime, the news is spreading and new clients are arriving.

The following words written by Helen Stern, one of the regular customers, appeared in the Five Towns Newsletter and says it all:

"Hi everybody. I want to share my ESRA Bookshop Binyamina experience with you all.
I was a diehard ESRA Or Akiva fan, having found this bookshop on my doorstop on arrival in Israel a year ago. I was thrilled to have this little English-speaking charity shop so close to home so I was very sad to hear it was moving. But I have to admit after my first visit to the new shop in the Binyamina Mall, I am converted. It is a lovely bright space, super-organized books, a reading nook and lovely friendly volunteers all as passionate about books as myself.
It also has the added bonus of lots of parking and a nice nearby coffee shop - Café Netto. The Bookshop is a little bit hidden, just around the corner from the posh and tasty pasta place at the end of the row of shops, but from my experience, all the best places in the world are hard to find!
Enjoy, booklovers."

And ESRA Caesarea-Zichron hopes they will.

ESRA Bookshop

Binyamina Shopping Mall

2 HaGavia Street

Tel: 04 639 8056 Marion (there is no phone in the shop)

Facebook page: 'Binyamina Book Shop' with updates for sales and special events.

Barbara Abraham is an active member of ESRA Caesarea-Zichron and of ESRAmagazine Editorial Board. 

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Tuesday, 05 July 2022

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