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August 22, 1986 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-08-22

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Linda Radin

Stacking boxes for the sale are Jerry Sosis and Todd Stearn.

Preparing for the sale on Monday.

Near East, sex and health, college
texts, National Geographic and
Smithsonian magazines. Weiner
could not pinpoint what is most
popular each year because it de-
pends on the buying public of that
time. They have such varied tastes
and you never know — (which is)
the beautiful part of a sale." Israel
and Near East previously was found
under Judaica but became so popu-
lar it was made into a separate cate-
gory. New categories this year are
computers and political commentary.
For the seven-day sale, at least
400 people volunteer, including men
and children. A running file is kept
of previous workers and cards are
sent out to the chapter's 1,000 mem-
bers, inviting them to work at this
year's sale. President Florence Fin-
kelstein remembers when a friend
worked the first day of the sale —
its busiest time — and was ex-
tremely tired afterwards which made
Finkelstein apprehensive about ask-
ing her to do it again. But, she said
it was exciting and she would work
Volunteers work at checkout
counters, straighten books and re-
plenish shelves from a box of books
beneath each table. There are three
shifts each day: covering the 9:30
a.m.-9 p.m. mall hours, with 25-30
volunteers working each shift. There
are also day chairmen over-seeing
the sale and distributing jobs.
Weiner concedes that they are rarely
short of volunteers because "people
not scheduled to work come in and
ask if they can help." Stores in the
mall also lend their assistance by
donating paper bags and baskets.
Because of the massive effort
needed for set-up, last Sunday night
volunteers began arranging the 268
rented tables that extend from
Montgomery Ward to Crowley's. On
Monday, volunteers "dressed" the

eight-foot-long tables in red cloth —
about 1,000 yards of skirting — that
lasts three to four years. Monday af-
ternoon, with the help of moving
vans, about 600 labeled boxes were
delivered to their respective tables.

Although admission to the sale
is free, Wednesday was preview
night. For $3, anxious "bookies"
were entitled to a sneak preview and
an opportunity to purchase items be-
fore the sale opened to the general
public. The line for the 9 p.m. pre-
view usually starts forming at 4 p.m.
"Last year," Weiner said, "a woman
was first in line and her husband
came to relieve her so" she could go
home and feed her kids." More than
500 people came for preview night.
At the end of the sale, the
women invite 100 community organ-
izations and schools in the tri-county
area to select, free of charge, as
many books and magazines as they
can use. In the past, about 10,000
items still remained by the last day
of the sale. Organizations that have
selected books in the past include
Maxey Boys Training School near
Ypsilanti, Prentis Manor Jewish
Home for the Aged and the the
Holocaust Memorial Center.
Monies raised by the sale are
carefully controlled. Each June, a
national conference is held at the
university for chapter presidents,
who receive a yearly report detailing
how the money was raised and
Although this is the 25th sale
and preparations have taken all
year, the workers are still filled with
exhilaration." "There is an excite-
ment in seeing such an enthusiastic
response to the sale," Finkelstein
explained. "If you love books and se-
eing people afford books they other-
wise may not be able to buy, then it
is a benefit to the community."

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