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"I've been thinking about trying
eBay for years," he told Klein.
"You've got a great community serv-
This winter, Klein takes her road
show to the Huntington Woods
Recreation Center for two classes in
January and February.
Even the five-year veteran of eBay
still is amazed by what can happen
on a site with more than 50 million
"I'm constantly surprised at the
type of things people will buy,"
She recently came across a pocket-
size 1986 Chicago Cubs season
schedule, a forgotten memento from
her time in that city, and put it on
eBay during a seminar. It sold for
$9.99, giving Klein an ideal class-
room line: "That's what I call cash
from trash — something I would
have thrown away. It really is found
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tapping into their resourcefulness
and having fun on eBay."
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Lucrative lessons also are being
shared with administrators and wor-
shipers at Temple Emanu-El in Oak
Park. Klein this year began auction-
ing donated items as a volunteer
service, raising $1,200 since July
from sales of Royal Doulton fig-
urines, vases and a Wedgwood plate
showing a menorah.
"We're thrilled by what Donna is
doing for us on eBay," said executive
director Susan Kirschner. "We
wouldn't have the success we're hav-
ing if it weren't for Donna's mastery
of eBay. She knows when to list
something in two categories, for
Proceeds go into the operating
fund, "which is very important for
us because we're a member-support-
ed temple and we're not in the
(wealthier) northwestern suburbs,"
The only hurdle has involved edu-
cating Emanu-El members that they
"can't bring in what they'd bring to
the sisterhood rummage sale," the
temple executive explained. "We're
not auctioning used jeans."
As Emanu-El refines its modern
fund-raising approach, Kirschner
plans to share the experience at a
November conference of synagogue
"It's a work in progress," she
explained, "and I want to get Donna
to draw up a list of tips that others
Klein helped inspire a similar
move in Farmington by JARC,
which has raised more than $12,000
via eBay since January.
"It's a brand new source of
untapped revenues," said JARC
development director Rena
Friedberg, who attended Klein's first
class last winter. "She was supportive
when we started."
JARC, serving people with devel-
opment disabilities, auctions golf
clubs, designer bags, Lladro figurines
and other goodies donated by sup-
porters. In August, it even sold a
coffee table to a local bidder for
For her part, Donna Klein has
found more than quick cash and a
growing sidelight through the part-
time web she's weaving. Online deals
occasionally rise above faceless com-
merce to create a personal connec-
That type of serendipity sweetened
the sale of an unused bat mitzvah
autograph bear to an Australian
mother planning her 13-year-old
daughter's ceremony on the other
side of the globe.
"We wound up exchanging won-
derful e-mails and even pictures,"
Klein recalled. "And I didn't even
know there were Jewish people in
Her first career as a bank vice pres-
ident, with a Chicago condo along
Lake Michigan, now seems millions
of keyboard clicks away. "I was very
uptight and less friendly to people
then," she recalled. "This is a much
more enjoyable way to live."