Too often I fill this space with the evils of the world. While it is necessary to know and comment on what is happening in the world around us, there is much more than the ugliness that surrounds us so often.
There is beauty. And new beginnings. And hope.
On July 23, beauty, a fresh start and plenty of hope abounded when Rosemarie Cole, Arnetha Thomas and Carla Bennett, co-owners of Cobeth Online Book Store, launched the store in Margate, Florida.
When I spoke to Cole, the spokeswoman for the owners, she could barely contain herself. The bookstore was a dream come true, she said, and came into existence with the encouragement of Dr. Ralph Hogges, a pastor, retired teacher and prolific writer. Hogges, Dr. Ben Cowin and Dr. Delores Smiley, are the co-founders of the 75-member all-black writers’ group.
“We launched the store with 11 writers, whose books will be sold in the store,” Cole said. One of the writers is Klarke Cowin, 10, Cowin’s preteen granddaughter. Her book is called “Klarke’s Little Blue Duckie,” a paperback that costs $18.99.
Not too long ago, Hogges, who also serves as a mentor to local writers, challenged writers to “…create your own online bookstore.” He told the group of writers that an online bookstore “…would offer writers and authors of color the opportunity to become more self-sufficient and economically independent. Ownership is power, and partnership provides the powerful equalizer that enables successful entrepreneurs of color. »
Cole, wife, mother, grandmother and self-published author of “The Playground Bully” and “A Call to Repentance,” took Hogges’ advice. She then brainstormed with two other writers from the group – Arnetha Thomas and Carla Bennett, who liked the idea and partnered with her.
Cole said that after praying over the idea, she decided to take on Hogges’ challenge. “Then,” she says, “I emailed Dr. Hogges, expressing my interest in not wanting to regret, in 10 years, not having acted on the opportunity.”
“You are the first member of the group to take on the challenge,” Hogges told Cole. He then sent out a second email to urge more members to associate with Cole. Thomas also took up the challenge.
Like Cole, Thomas is a mother and grandmother, and is semi-retired. His self-published works include “Sometimes Here, There, and Everywhere,” a children’s storybook and workbook, and Christian books that include “Get Through, Going Through Life,” published by Page Publishing.
Bennett joined Cole and Thomas, completing the trio of owners. The group used two letters of their last name to find the name of their online bookstore.
“Our launch day was awesome,” said Cole. “We started with 11 authors who joined us to sell their books. We are very excited about the future of our business.
Hogges said the online bookstore is a great tool for black writers. “Too often traditional publishers are reluctant to publish the works of writers of color. That’s why we often self-publish our books. And white bookstores generally refuse to sell our books,” he said.
“My philosophy is that we have to stop depending on others to do for us, what we can do for ourselves, especially when it comes to bookstores. We should become literary entrepreneurs and create our own bookstores, especially online bookstores given the opportunity that technology offers us.
For more information about the Cobeth online bookstore, visit cobethbooks.com.
New Spiritual Leader at Bet Shira Congregation
Warm and belated congratulations to Rabbi Jesse Charyn, who on July 1 became the new spiritual leader of Congregation Bet Shira in South Dade.
Charyn, a renowned speaker, teacher, chaplain, outdoor enthusiast and dedicated Jewish leader, has a diverse religious background. He was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and attended the Young Judea Year Course in Israel before making Aliyah (immigration) to Israel and serving in the Golani Special Forces of the Israel Defense Forces from 2003 to 2006. He is also a Birthright Fellow and has organized several Birthright Israel trips.
According to Bet Shira President Steven Goldstein, the congregation is “…delighted to welcome Rabbi Charyn to Bet Shira. He impressed us with his spirituality, his energy and his personal magnetism. During his first few weeks with us, he has already demonstrated a particular impact on our congregation with his immediate influence on our prayer services, Torah study, religious education of children and social programs.
A graduate of Arizona State University, Charyn completed his graduate studies at the Ziegler School for Rabbinic Studies, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Conservative Yeshiva, and Arizona State University.
Previously, he was Rabbi/Director of Spiritual Care at Miami Jewish Health Systems.
Charyn said her family was her greatest achievement. He and Shira, his wife of 12 years, are the parents of three daughters, Rayna, 4, and twins Navah and Zivah, 2.
The Seenagers & Babyboomers tour is approaching
If you’re a seeager (an energetic senior) or a baby boomer who loves to travel, the Seenagers & Babyboomers led by Dorothy Heard invite you to travel with them as they tour Historic Savannah, Jekyll Island and Beaufort, South Carolina, October 1. 10-14.
In addition to visiting the historic sites, participants will also visit the First African Baptist Church in Savannah, where pews built by slaves are on display.
The cost of the five-day, four-night tour is $599 and is due by August 17. The cost includes meals, hotels and transportation.
For more information, call Heard at 305-965-8205 or email him at [email protected]
Bea Hines can be contacted at [email protected]