Stanley Lambchop was just another ordinary boy. One day, he was given a bulletin board for displaying postcards and pictures. The board was hung over Stanley’s bed. An unfortunate decision as in the middle of the night it fell on the unsuspecting sleeping Stanley. The event had grave consequences as Stanley, while surviving the accident, became flat! Stanley soon discovered the advantages of being flat: He could pretend he was a kite for his brother, he could sneak in and out under doors and most important – He could get inside an envelope and travel the world for free.
This is the synopsis of the book written by Jeff Brown and named “Flat Stanley“. The book was published in 1964. It was very successful and a series of flat Stanley’s adventures were published in the following years. An even bigger success was the project created and inspired by the Flat Stanley series. In 1995, a Canadian teacher named Dale Hubert decided to ask his third graders to prepare a cardboard Flat Stanley figure and send it by mail to friends and acquaintances in other cities and countries. The people who received Flat Stanley were asked to keep a log describing Stanley’s adventures and take some pictures of him in interesting places. The Flat Stanley project was an amazing success and today it is spread to over 7000 schools and 50 countries.
In the summer of 2011 I was guiding a very nice family from Los-Angeles who came for a Bat Mitzvah tour in Israel. With the twelve-years-old girl came her parents, ants and uncles and her sister. We traveled the country, had interesting tours in Jerusalem, the Galilee, Massada and other sites. Over those ten days we bonded nicely. Two months after that tour I got Flat Stanley by mail from D., the Bat-Mitzvah’s younger sister and a fifth grader herself. At first I did not understand what I was supposed to do with this weird thing. It could easily be thought of as a joke, but after reading the “manual” I became quite enthusiastic – D. asked me to take Flat Stanley with me as I guide tours in Jerusalem!
I decided to treat Flat Stanley as an honorable guest. We fed him traditional Israeli salad, put him in a Succah we built in Kiryat Yovel neighborhood in Jerusalem and the next day, I took Stanley to a children’s tour with families that came to visit Jerusalem for the Succot holidays. We concluded our tours in the Kotel and the children who really liked Flat Stanley took him for some photo-ops near the wall. We had a small curious gathering around Flat Stanley – this is definitely what the project is for, though we still had another climax ahead.
The next day, we had in Jerusalem the annual Jerusalem parade. The parade includes traditionally a few options of tours around Jerusalem each made with different difficulty level. At the end of that part of the parade another more official and festive parade is held. This carnival takes place in the city center and draws participants from all over the world. During the past few years we have a lot of Christians who support Israel that take part in the parade as part of a project held by the ICEJ – International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. The institute was established in the early 80’s of the previous century and it provides a spiritual home for Christians who support Israel and follow the need to comfort Zion according the command of the scriptures in Isaiah 40:1-2 “Comfort, comfort, my people says your god. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem…”. The people from ICEJ try to assist Israel and its citizens in any possible way and hold many charity events in the city of Jerusalem. In their main event in Succot they often invite the prime minister of Israel for a traditional speech.
This year I decided to try and get a good place from which I will be able to watch the parade properly. I found my way to the closed sitting area watching the parade and of course I had Flat Stanley with me. As I was waiting patiently I met a friend – Hagit Zahi, a great lover of Jerusalem who never misses an interesting event. A few minutes later the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat arrived and sat in the row in front of us. Hagit spotted the chance, took Flat Stanley and introduced him to the Mayor who agreed to the amusing photo-op – It was really a historic event! The parade arrived and we could see groups from various Israeli companies like Bezeq, various banks soldiers and many Christians from all over the world wearing their traditional costumes. We could see the Chinese with their red flags, the Dutch with traditional dresses, Russians, Americans and even a delegation from Papua New Guinea with interesting and colorful outfits. Stanly was enthusiastic. He was passed on from one delegation to another and took a lot of pictures with everybody.
It was a hard day’s night for Flat Stanley. He got in his envelope and went back to Los-Angeles with numerous memories from a special tour in Jerusalem.