To all our authors and illustrators, customers and friends around the world, best wishes for a sweet, happy, healthy and peaceful new year. In Minnesota the leaves have begun to turn. When we build our sukkah in two weeks, it will have cornstalks on the roof. We buy our cornstalks from a local farmer who comes to the farmer's market every year with his load of cornstalks, gourds and other sukkah-friendly material. The trouble was that he could never quite figure out why when he shlepped a few cornstalks one week he would have customers wanting to by dozens, so he'd then bring dozens the next week and nobody would want any.
The year he mentioned this to me, I explained to him that there was indeed a method to the madness, and I gave him a little Kar-Ben Mini Jewish Calendar and circled the following year's pre-Sukkot weekend so he'd know exactly which weekend the Jews would be wanting their cornstalks -- that weekend and no other. I also invited him to our sukkah party so he could see what-the-heck (his words) we were using all those cornstalks for.
And so a friendship was born. He comes to our sukkah party every year bringing gifts of honey or eggs or broomcorn from his farm, and we provide him with a mini calendar every year so he knows when Sukkot is. So now my plug for Kar-Ben calendars -- buy them and give them to your non-Jewish neighbors, teachers and others. They're great, they promote cultural understanding, and you may make a new friend.