Last summer an announcement appeared on the website of Temple Isaiah in Lexington, asking for volunteers to tutor reading in a local school during the coming school year. The effort immediately caught my attention. Since I couldn’t actually go into a school setting, Becca Shimshak wondered if I wanted to “organize a book drive at the temple for students at the school.” So I thought, why not? Just a little book drive, but it grew larger than I imagined. The office staff, custodians, religious school, an enthusiastic, small team of volunteers, and our generous congregation all contributed to a hugely successful book drive. In the end we collected over 700 books!

Leading the book drive became a rewarding partnership with everyone involved. I felt supported, encouraged, and grateful for their suggestions and assistance. As the piles of books grew, the amazement and satisfaction of what we were doing settled on all of us.

The process was not without its pitfalls but it all worked out with persistence, communication and a communal desire for a successful book drive. When the book drive ended and our team sorted and boxed books, we marveled about how wonderful it was to be able to put so many books into the hands of eager readers. We decided to split up the donations so that books were distributed to two schools—one in Somerville and the other in Waltham. The looks on the teachers’ faces when the books were delivered and the gratitude they expressed in person and via email said so much and made me grateful, too, for being able to lead this mitzvah.