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 New Book Shares The Remarkable Journey of Shluchim
  • 30 Oct, 2023

New Book Shares The Remarkable Journey of Shluchim

In a world often overshadowed by tumultuous events, there emerges a glimmer of hope and inspiration in the form of a groundbreaking book called "Illuminations." 

This remarkable publication, set to launch this week, is the brainchild of Yosef Shidler, the Executive Director of DollarDaily, a project with a clear mission – to support and shine a spotlight on dedicated shluchim  around the world, all made possible with the power of a single dollar a day.

"When we set out on the journey of DollarDaily, our goal was crystal clear: to support and spotlight the dedicated shluchim around the world. We believed in the power of $1 a day, and with the incredible help of over 800 people, we've been making a difference for over two years," Shidler explained.

The roots of this remarkable project trace back to a collaboration with the renowned website COLLIVE. This partnership evolved into a widely recognized weekly newsletter known as "Illuminations," a publication that quickly garnered acclaim not just within Crown Heights but across the globe, with thousands of copies being printed weekly.

At the heart of this endeavor lies the captivating stories of miracles and the return to Yiddishkeit . As the narratives of these dedicated shluchim continued to grow, so did the vision of the DollarDaily team.

With each story shared in their newsletter, a vision emerged, prompting the realization that the 2,000-word limit, imposed by the constraints of a weekly newsletter, couldn't capture the wealth of stories shared by these remarkable individuals. This insight gave birth to the idea of crafting not just one book but potentially a series of books.

"Our initial concept over a year ago was promising, but refining it proved to be a challenging endeavor. Our aim was to create a magazine-style book, keeping things simple and maintaining a high level of professionalism. We meticulously studied similar publications to seek inspiration for the vision we had in mind," Shidler explained. "People in today's world are ADHD - they want a quick read - pick up the book, read a story or two, and put it back down - and we built the book to be able to do that."

Creating a concept that resonated with shluchim and provided a meaningful gift for them to share with their communities took months of exploration and experimentation. 

Rabbi Yosef Kantor from Chabad of Thailand, inspired by the project, shared, "I had long dreamed of doing something similar, and when I saw what had been accomplished, I realized it was light-years beyond anything I had ever envisioned. I threw my weight in helping it get published."

The realization of this project required hundreds of hours of dedication from a committed team, including Chaya Chazan, who skillfully directed the writing team, and a review team led by two shluchim, Rabbi Mendel Heidingsfeld of Manchester and Rabbi Chayim Friedman from Milwaukee. Despite numerous challenges, including the careful selection of images and editing of stories to ensure accessibility to readers from all backgrounds, the team persevered.

Shidler admitted, "One of the most daunting challenges we faced was refining the images to ensure they were suitable for all audiences. We also edited the stories to make them accessible to readers from all backgrounds."

Initially, the team had hoped to include 30 to 40 of the original 'Illuminations' stories in the book. However, the layout evolved, and the writing expanded, resulting in dedicating 15 to 25 pages to each shliach. 

The challenge of selection arose, as many of the shluchim shared heartfelt stories, making it difficult to choose. Shidler added, "It's truly inspiring; we had to narrow down to what we believed were unique stories, and we believe each of the 25 shared something unique and different, and regrettably many others had to be shelved for another book." The culmination of this collective effort resulted in a remarkable 432-page book featuring the narratives of 25 outstanding shluchim.

In July, a crowdfunding campaign was initiated to cover the substantial printing costs of this book. Remarkably, they successfully raised the $40,000 needed, thanks to the generosity of 250 amazing donors from around the world. Special thanks go to Reb Heshy Beigeleisen, Simcha and Margie Gross, and Dina & Menachem Kranz for their invaluable support.

With divine assistance, the team anticipates that the book will be available in stores in the United States by the first days of November, coinciding with the Kinus Hashluchim. Zissel Ellinson of CIS publications will oversee the book's distribution. Bulk discounts will be avail for Shluchim. 

The call for shluchim to share their stories for "Illuminations" continues, with new interviews conducted regularly.

 At the heart of it all, this book is about shluchim, and it supports shluchim. Sales of the book go towards keeping the Illuminations project afloat and aiding the ongoing work that DollarDaily does to assist shluchim.

The Book is available for purchase now on DollarDaily’s website - and should be in stores this week. 

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