Restoring respect for God's verse at a time

Project by Bible Valley Society aims to restore the Bible to a place of respect among peoples everywhere, including Israel.

people of the world 521 (photo credit: Bible Society)
people of the world 521
(photo credit: Bible Society)
Amos Rolnik remembers living on a kibbutz with his family decades ago at a time when Bibles were extremely rare. He admits barely knowing any of the stories written in them. In those days, the Holy Scriptures were perceived by many Israeli socialists as the history of a tormented nation, and thus few desired to teach it on the kibbutzim.
It was only in the 1990s that Rolnik began to take the Bible seriously as a remarkable account of his nation’s past, with universal lessons for all of humanity.
Rolnik organized a global contest called “Children of the World Illustrate the Bible.” The project inspired Rolnik himself to finally start reading the Bible. The response surpassed his highest expectations – hundreds of thousands of children from 91 countries submitted artwork for the contest. Paintings and drawings sent in from dozens of different cultures represented various biblical stories in different lights and motifs.
In 1999, the results were compiled, and 1,000 illustrations were published in a book as well as in a series of greeting cards, games and illustrated Bibles – of both the Old and New Testament. In December of that year, the winners were welcomed to Israel by president Ezer Weizman.
Today, Rolnik reads the Bible every day and understands why it is so cherished by so many. He founded the non-profit association Bible Valley Society and plans on establishing a permanent exposition of the Bible illustrations made by children from all over the world. His vision is also to allow visitors to be enveloped in various aspects of daily biblical experiences: trade, artisanship, agriculture, housing, consumer goods and war.
“People of the World Inscribe the Bible” is now the latest unique project initiated by Rolnick and the Bible Valley Society, together with the Foreign Ministry. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has even called Rolnik’s initiatives some of the most important projects ever originated in Israel.
The inscription project is a global initiative whereby hundreds of thousands of people will unite to hand-inscribe Bibles in their native languages. To date, thousands of people from over 30 countries have already participated in the effort. Each country hand-inscribes 23,127 verses of the Bible, the goal being to complete the inscription of 100 Bibles in 100 languages.
In many countries, the local Bible society manages the venture. Each participant writes one verse and gets a personal certificate as a token of having taken part in the project. The names are then listed on the project’s main website.
In stating its goals, the Bible Valley Society refers to three key figures from the Bible. First is Abraham, who spoke of justice as the essence of human life. Second is Moses, who taught that justice without law cannot prevail. And third is Jesus, who taught that law cannot exist without compassion. Through these biblical teachings, “People of the World Inscribe the Bible” seeks to embark on a joint venture with Bible lovers everywhere to promote the values of the “book of books.”
This past spring the project’s Hebrew website, “Inscribing the Tanakh,” was launched in order to get Israelis more involved. Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon and Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein offered their support, and Netanyahu chose the first verse for the site: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4).
The project’s website allows each person to choose what for him is the most significant verse and to note the reasons for that choice. Upon completing registration, each participant will receive a certificate attesting to his participation.
Ultimately, the project aims to restore the Bible to a place of respect among peoples everywhere, including Israel.