Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Quick Ribbon Bookmark

Here's a quick and durable way to add a ribbon bookmark to a hardcover book, without defacing the book.

It's worth five minutes to install a set of bookmarks in a text at the beginning of a semester.

Thin satin ribbon spools often go on sale at craft and sewing stores (or the craft/sewing section of Wal-Mart) for 25 cents a spool.

For a text that I plan to study slowly and intently, I like to have four markers. To make this, I use two colors of ribbon, each cut to more than twice the height of the book. This will result in two markers of each of the two colors.

I start by poking a hole in the top of the spine with a thumbtack (or safety pin), just above the top of the pages.
I use a dental floss threader to attach the ribbon securely. In the picture below, you can see the floss threader threaded through the thumbtack hole.

I kept this picture in the tutorial because it shows the threader and the hole very clearly, but when I do this, I start with the loop on the opposite (inside) side of the book, with the lead on the outside.

Thread the ribbons through the floss threader's loop.

Pull the floss threaders taught.

Feed the tail end of the threader back through the threader's loop on the inside, and pull taught again.
Tuck the long end of the tail into the space between the cover and the book's pages. I use a cake tester or barbecue skewer to help push the tail and keep it from bunching up.

Lifting the ribbon up and over the back of the book, secure the ribbon/threader knot with a tiny bit of glue. Be careful not to let the glue get on the pages or interfere with the pages' movement.

Below is a better picture of what the finished product/floss knot looks like from the outside/spine of the book:

Obviously, this isn't suited to heirloom or very expensive books. But, for a "working text", I think the floss is discreet and unobtrusive. I suppose, it could be painted to match the book's spine, too.

Trim the excess length of ribbon on the diagonal, and (optional) add a dot of nail polish to the ribbon ends to prevent fraying.

A few bookdarts conveniently tucked away on the back page, and voila! Ready to study!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What heroism looks like

Julie is a hero. SHE doesn't know it. She's plugging along, running on empty, very cranky and tired. But she has a profound sense of duty and an indomitable determination.

Julie is fighting in the trenches, a Private in the war against Cancer.

As an oncology graduate student, she has little control over the strategic response or course of the battle. She must subdue her ego and muster her will every day to face tedious, exacting, frustrating, endless work with unclear results.

She often feels like a forgotten and unattended cog in the Great Machine of Science. And yet, she endures. Mindfully, and despite setbacks and threats of futility, she marches forward every day, and fights the Good Fight.

There is no way to know whether her work will be successful. But heroism isn't about success. Heroism is about facing the difficult, scary, and painful, despite the difficulties, fears, and pain.

Even if her work never leads to a specific advance in our understanding or treatment of Cancer, what she's doing matters. It matters because no war is won without the sacrifice of heroes. And those of us who benefit, owe them our gratitude and support.

Julie is having a tough day today. If you get a chance, please send her a comment of encouragement. Think of it as a letter to a soldier.

(P.S. Kudos to Leah and RivkA's kids, who just fought in this same war, on different fronts.)

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Making of a Millionaire

I'm kvelling vicariously today.

Last month, G6 posted about her teen-aged son Joey's dream to be on the television game show, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"

The show involves answering successive trivia questions. Each question doubles the reward, but carries the risk of losing all.

Joey is an Orthodox Jew, and is thus committed to observing Jewish Law.

He applied to the show, and, after a long wait, received an invitation to be on it. But the only date available was during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, during the time where participating would be forbidden.

Here is how he responded to the invitation.

At this point, he must have secured a Heavenly Reward that surpasses anything he could have won on that show.

But wait! There's more! Joey received a second call! The program's representative found another date.... AGAIN on a (different) Jewish holiday (Shmini Atzeret) during which work is prohibited. AGAIN, he declined.

I believe, just as in the format of the "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" program, Joey just answered another question, doubling his reward.

His real payoff may be in a Realm beyond the reaches of the Blogosphere, but can you imagine how happy I was to read, that he was able to answer positively to the unprecedented third call?

Joey, when people want to know the definition of kiddush hashem, they can look to your example! May you enjoy every success!

Update, unrelated, but related, too: Interestingly enough, I just came across this: "Who wants to Be a Millionaire?" (מי כעמך ישראל?)===============================================

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sukkot / Shmini Atzeret Meal Planners for 2008 ~5769 are up!

The Sukkot/Shmini Atzeret Meal Planners for 2008 ~ 5769 are up. Enjoy!

Juggling Frogs frog with lulav and etrog, ready for Sukkot

Here are some previously-published related posts:

(Last year's Tishrei post, "T minus 10 and counting" was very specific to that year, where there were three sets of elongated holidays in the month. However, there are many reminders that others have found helpful this (much less complex) year, too.)

Do you know Rev. and Mrs. Myer Loketch? SEEKING your input for a tribute to them

[I know this is a bit off-topic for this blog, but I appreciate your bearing with me, as the deadline is quickly approaching, and we're trying to get a large and international response. - CLKL]

As you may know, Rev. Loketch has retired after 41 years as the Shamash of Young Israel of Brookline.

He and Mrs. Loketch have relocated to Detroit to be near their children. Rev. and Mrs. Loketch are spending the holidays in Detroit, but we hope they will return to Brookline afterwards so we can honor them appropriately for a lifetime of service to the community.

We are creating an album of our good wishes and special memories to present to them.

Please send us any photographs (copies, or originals if you want the Loketches to keep them), memories, good wishes (or even your children's drawings) that you would like to include in our album.

Please mail or email whatever you would like us to include, BY OCTOBER 26, 2008


Young Israel of Brookline
ATTN: Rev. and Mrs. Loketch Tribute
62 Green Street
Brookline, MA 02446

e-mail: Tribute *at* yibrookline *dot* org

You may FAX us at: (928)752-8458 (Note: This is NOT the synagogue's FAX number.)

We also have a Facebook group: Loketch Tribute

[I've posted some of the memories received electronically on the facebook group in the discussion section.]

The Loketches have touched so many lives, in so many ways. Everybody is invited to participate, so please feel free to forward this request to anyone you feel might wish to be involved.

Thank you for your participation in this demonstration of our gratitude to and deep affection for Rev. and Mrs. Loketch.

[This is an edited version of the letter sent from the] Tribute Committee (in formation)

Easy Sukkot Project: Free printable sentences for banners to print and color

This is my favorite sukkah decorating project to make with a group of kids that span a large age range.

I've done this every year for many years with large groups of kids from the community, to decorate our synagogue's HUGE sukkah, with Boy Scout troops, and Bnei Akiva. We've also used this with our family sukkah at home.

The beauty is that it's a cheap, easy, and age-independent project. Since everyone gets their own page to color, minimal cooperation skills are required. I like how everyone works together on one big project, but each can take his own page to a corner of the room, without having to stake out space on a group coloring project.

In addition to the free downloadable sentence files below, you'll need a plastic disposable tablecloth in a bright color (not white), scissors, markers or crayons, and packing tape. One or two sticks or dowels, a bit wider than the tablecloth, is helpful but optional. We sometimes scavenge branches for this, for a rustic and natural (read:free) look.

(The sentence files are quite large. Right click and select "save target as..." to download them.)

I like to use the tablecloths-on-a-roll. They're cheap (under $20 for a near-lifetime supply), and don't need to be folded. We use them for so many other projects, too: costumes at Purim, covering the counters at Pesach, and sometimes we even cover a table with them!

For each sentence, print both the coloring pages and the index page. It's amazing how easy it is to misspell even simplest words, when the letters are all jumbled up and in the hands of an escaping marker-wielding toddler!

Allow the children to color in the letters in whatever way they like. When the letters are complete, cut (or have a few older kids who can be trusted with the scissors do the cutting) along outlines. This will guarantee that even the scribbles of a two year old will be readable as letters, and will show up from across the sukkah.

Use the clear packing tape to completely cover the cut-out letters, effectively laminating them as they are affixed to the disposable plastic tablecloth.

Optional: Leave enough room on the tablecloth to make a bit of a hem on both the top and bottom of the banner, and slip the optional sticks or dowels through this hem to keep the banner straight in the wind.

Depending on the what your sukkah is made of, affix the banner using rope, safety pins, tape, bungee balls, etc.

For more Sukkot projects, click here.

If you liked this article, congratulations! You have great taste. Please brew yourself a cup of coffee.
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