Veterans: Something for everything

Marcia Goldlist offers a way out for those who have trouble coming up with the right words.

(photo credit: GLORIA DEUTSCH)
Marcia Goldlist has rewritten the Book of Genesis – in rhyme. She’s now work- ing on Exodus and eventually plans to complete all Five Books of Moses. In the process, she has become something of an expert on self-publishing. The Toronto-born immigrant, who made aliya in 2000, has researched the Internet extensively and discovered that any book can be published and sold on Amazon at practically no cost.
“We are so lucky, in this day and age, to be able to find out so much from the Internet,” she says. “It’s amazing.”
To date she has produced five books. Besides her Genesis in rhyme, which is also available in a large print edition, she has written several books of toasts and blessings for many different occasions.
“Often people have an event when they have to make a speech, or write a greeting card, or offer a toast,” she says. “Knowing the right thing to say does not always come naturally to everybody. My books are a collection of appropriate sayings for everything from a wedding celebration, a circumcision, engagement party, congratulating someone on getting a new car, good wishes for going on a journey or rhymes to pin up in the kitchen area so that the members of the family will keep it clean.”
Goldlist has even written a rhyme for a grandfather whose family was celebrating the fact that he would have been 100 if he were still alive. Whatever the situation, she can think up a way of commemorating it – in verse.
She’s not sure how it all started, but whenever she had to produce a booklet or make an announcement in her previous life as an educator in Toronto, she found herself doing it in rhyme.
With BA and MA degrees in education, her last job before leaving Canada was as principal of a Jewish afternoon school which taught Judaica studies and Hebrew.
Coming to live in Israel was a family decision based on having spent some time here on a sabbatical. Her husband, Harvey, is a retired accountant and the couple spent a year in Jerusalem with their four daughters.
It was so successful that they prolonged their stay for another year – which, Goldlist says, “sealed the deal.”
Love of Israel and enjoying the life here, combined with the specter of assimilation – “If it’s not our children, it will be our grandchildren,” she says – led them to pack up and take the aliya step in July 2000.
Besides the strong connection to Israel that they both had, the gradual strengthening of their religious convictions helped them make the final decision.
“We started off basically as Reform and Conservative Jews” says Goldlist, “and today we are in the Orthodox camp.”
When they came to Israel, Goldlist was sure she would work in education here – but did not know in which exact field.
“It was just the time of the second intifada, and many of the adult education programs I had my eye on were drying up for lack of money,” she says.
She tried teaching English but didn’t like the fact that it seemed to be just a way of getting pupils through the bagrut (matriculation) examinations. She also worked for a fund-raising organization for a few years but again, it was not what she really wanted.
The she began writing – and it all came out in verse.
Goldlist has spent many hours researching publishing and says it’s very “doable.”
“I’ve discovered that anyone can get a book published, either as E-books or printed as paperbacks, through Create Space,” she says.
“You can do the whole thing for free,” says Goldlist.
Even the book covers can be taken from Amazon, but she invested a small amount to get the book covers she wanted.
Next Monday, November 25, she will be giving a talk to AACI Jerusalem called “10 Steps to Publishing a Paperback or E-book – For Free.”
Life in Ma’aleh Adumim has been a success from the first day Goldlist’s family arrived there. They like the fact that it’s so close to Jerusalem and, even better, one can go to a shiur in English or Hebrew every day of the week.
After Exodus, which she feels suits her style because of its many narratives, she will leave the Five Books of Moses for a while and work on the books of Esther and Samuel.
She is adamant about keeping to the spirit of the original and to that end, has a Bible scholar – a teacher at the Hebrew University – check her work and make sure it is true to the original text.
She works from the Hebrew Bible, plus the many translations available on the Internet. After the writing, which can take a day for a chapter, she switches to editing mode, checking the text for grammar and punctuation.
“The most important thing is to be consistent,” says Goldlist.
She uses English spellings of names – Abraham rather than Avraham – since one of her main target audiences is Christian evangelists who often homeschool.
“They appreciate this way of looking at the Bible, as it makes it so much more interesting for children,” she says.
Other potential readers who she thinks would love her books are observant families who like to discuss the Torah portion of the week around the Shabbat dinner table as a family, and adults who do not know the Bible – even if it is the world’s best-selling book.
“They can get an idea what it’s about by reading my books and afterwards, maybe, read the real thing,” Goldlist says. “To me it’s very important that people connect to the Bible.”