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Book Sale Is Almost Upon Us!

Back by popular demand after a pandemic hiatus!
Now the Rhoda Goldman Memorial Giant Annual Book Sale!

  • 19th (mostly) Annual Used Book Sale!
  • February 19 and 20, 2023
    Sunday, 9am to 5pm
    Monday, 9am to 3pm
  • MANY THOUSANDS of books in all subjects:
    Trade paper backs
    Paper backs
    Hard backs
  • All sorted by categories: We can tell you we have a ton of
    quilting books in Hobbies and Crafts
    Bibles of all sorts in Religion
    cookbooks in Food
    books about animals and sports (in Animals and Sports)
    books about art and drama and music, including sheet music in Fine Arts
    children's and young adult books of all kinds - LOTS
  • We also have a lot of LPs, CDs, and DVDs
  • Pricing
    $1.00 and up
    Special collections of books priced higher
    BIG bargains after noon on Monday!
  • Early admission on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. for $20.00 fee, cash or check only
  • Don't miss this very well-organized book sale. It has something for everyone!

Book Sorting Resumes in January 2023

We are in the home stretch.

Join us any Tues-Wed-Thurs in January between 10 and 3. Come for a half hour, come for all day!  If there is interest in sorting on Wed evening or Sunday morning during Religious School, please let me know.

Please set aside the weekend of Presidents’ Day 2023 to help us hold the sale:

  • Saturday afternoon to set up

  • Sunday and Monday to restock tables, collect payments, etc.

Stay tuned to my emails, the website, and the Thursday emails for changing information.

And thank you all!

If you have teenagers who need volunteer hours, I believe sorting/set up/sale support all  count!

Book Sale

For eighteen of the last twenty years, Beth El has held one of the biggest used book sales in the D.C. metro area. Dealers and shoppers come from all over the eastern half of the country to see our rare and unusual books, and shoppers like the rest of us come to stock up on bargains in our genre of choice.  Moving to President’s Day weekend in February, we expect the 2023 sale to be even bigger than usual as all of us have been de-cluttering during the pandemic. The book sale is one of our biggest annual fund raisers.

We rely on BEHC volunteers to help with sorting throughout the fall and to work the weekend of the sale setting up, refreshing the tables, and checking people out. We welcome you to help with as much or as little time as you can give us.  Sorting is a lot of fun, and volunteering to sort gives you the opportunity to make pre-sale purchases! Please email if you are willing to help in any way. More information below. Thank you.

PS: In addition to donations of books, we accept CDs, DVDs, records, and flattened boxes if they are in good shape.  No magazines, no old-style, multi-volume encyclopedias. If you have questions, please email the address above.


Where, When, and Who


The West Foyer, which is where you are if you walk along the back of the sanctuary from the main hallway side until you can’t go any further.


Scheduled Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday from 10:00 a.m. (approx.) to 3:00 p.m. (approx.) and Wednesday during Religious School from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., but also — for the first time ever — we will not have to take down the book sorting tables at the end of the day Thursday and have them set up again the following Tuesday morning. This means if you have been oriented by an experienced sorting volunteer this season already, or you’ve done sorting in the past, you can stop in any time you can get in the building and sort some books.


You, we hope. If you want to come but cannot be on your feet much, we will set up a seated sorting station for you. You can do a prelim sort of fiction from non-fiction. If your teens need volunteer hours, send them our way.

But wait, who’s in charge?

Well, me — if I’m here.  I will not be here nearly as much as Rhoda used to be, because I still work. When I’m not here, if you really need someone to be in charge, it would be Myrna Beck or Dottie Saks or Judy Jankowski or someone else who has had sorting experience. After a few weeks of doing this, it could be you who’s in charge one day this sorting season.

Why does someone have to be in charge?

Well, they don’t… necessarily. Volunteers can ask each other “where should I put this” questions just as easily as they can ask me.  The one thing to be careful of is that all volunteers should be careful with our maintenance team to:

  • Be respectful and patient — they actually have full-time jobs other than supporting the book sorting. Nonetheless, they will be supporting us, but it might take a few minutes longer than you would like.
  • Avoid having multiple sorters providing direction to the maintenance team so they don’t get confused.  If you want boxes built a certain way, be explicit. Example: “Please tape up both top and bottom of these boxes and then cut them in half.”

Is there anything in this for me?

Yep… by sorting books, you get first dibs, and you can buy books at a discount.  If you see something you like, set it aside and talk to me.  Hardcovers are $2.00, paperbacks 50 cents, oversize books $3.00, cash only (pay me).

The Physical Part


  1. There is a big U of sorting tables with the open end facing the sanctuary entrance. There is a gap to provide emergency exit access somewhere in the middle. There is a gap to get into the box set-up space in the Rubin Memorial Hall. (Who even knew we HAD a Rubin Memorial Hall??)  There is a prelim worktable to your left as you enter the foyer.
  2. When you need more books to work on, let maintenance know. They will bring carts of books to the sanctuary side of the space. Often the carts are too heavy to pull into the workspace until some boxes have been emptied. Use the worktable to offload onto, either whole boxes or loose books.
  3. There are two metal carts kept in the middle of the U for holding full boxes of sorted books. From here, maintenance can take them to longer term storage. When a cart fills, let maintenance know. If they are not available, just put a new box with same label on top of the full one temporarily.
  4. Past the media sorts and supplies and pulp boxes are one or more recycling cans for all those ripped bags, removed box flaps, and the odd dog photo stuck into a book. At the other end of the U is a trash can with a liner for your ripped/used gloves and Starbucks cups.


  1. All the way at the right of the U of tables, there are Sharpies, gloves (thank you, Myrna), a sign-in sheet, some sticky notes, other useful stuff, even sometimes protein bars (thank you, Judy). For those of you who care, the gloves just might prevent broken nails and paper cuts; wear them if you want. Let me know if we get low on gloves; I will bring more.
  2. In the Rubin Memorial Hallis a table with package tape and tape guns and flattened boxes. Let me know if we get low on tape or boxes; Liz will order more.
  3. SAFETY WARNING: There are also several VERY SHARP things on the table for cutting down boxes or cutting flaps off of them. Please do not use the VERY SHARP things unless you are really certain you can do so safely. Please cut away from you.
  4. It is helpful but not absolutely required that books don’t stick up above the sides of the boxes.
    If you have the time and the inclination, you have the option to cut down the sides to fit what you are boxing.  If books do stick up above the sides of the box, lay them flat in/on top of the box for now, and we’ll stand them up on the day of the sale.

Boxes and Bags

  1. Reuse any boxes that are reusable. Save bags that are in really good shape in the boxes between the worktable and the old ladies’ room.
  2. SAFETY WARNING: Please do NOT lift anything that might be too heavy for you. Really, I mean it.
  3. Label all boxes with the category on at least two sides. It is perfectly okay to abbreviate.
  4. Within each box, please try to have all the titles facing the same way. It simplifies set up the for the actual sale.
  5. When a box is full, if you can safely lift it, move it to the center carts. If you cannot safely lift it, and there is nobody around to safely lift it, label a new box and just put it in front, behind, or on top of the other box.

Sorted Book Storage (for now)

For now, filled boxes of sorted books are being stacked (badly) around the West Foyer area. When all the books are out of the garage, then the sorted books can go back in onto the metal bookshelves.

The logical part

  1. So many categories, so little attention span… no wait, that’s just me.  Some sorts are obvious; it is, for example, very helpful when a book says “a new science fiction novel” on the front. If it’s about cats or polar bears, it’s clearly animals. Golf, football, another duh.
  2. So many items are less clear. Does The Hunger Games go in science fiction or young adult? Does a book of Sholom Aleichem short stories go in fiction or literature or Judaica? Is this book children’s or young adults? There are all judgement calls. There is no right answer, there is no wrong answer. Ask your co-sorters, make your best call, and move on (or leave it on the worktable for someone else to think about).
  3. There is the SPECIALS category which is unique. Any book we can get more than $3 for, by golly, we want to. We have two “rare book experts” (or are they “rare” book experts???) who will price those items. If you’re not sure if a book is special enough, err on the side of profit and set it aside for consideration. The worst that can happen is that it comes back into the general sort when they look at it.
  4. There are boxes for items that are not for some reason sellable under the media part of the U, they are labeled PULP. There are many such items there already. We sell these items by the pound and so they do make us a little money which is better than no money.
    • Not sellable because of age/out of dateness (Windows 95, I am looking at you!), falling apartness, water damage, no longer used (English dictionaries and encyclopedias), high school yearbooks, magazines that are not otherwise noteworthy… use your judgment.
    • Noteworthy magazines include Nat Geo and Mother Earth Journal and old Times and Lifes… but not Ranger Rick or Newsweek or Highlights.  Well maybe unless it is the Newsweek from when Nixon resigned. That would be special in every sense of the word. Use your judgment.

How to reach me

By phone: 703-447-0456 (cell) or 703-476-9064 (home)

By text: 703-447-0456

By email:

Please note: messages do not make a sound on my phone because my brother in Israel is unclear on the time difference and will often text me in the middle of my sleepy time. If you really need me right now, please call.


Tue, January 31 2023 9 Sh'vat 5783