15 years ago my grandfather zl"t* bought me an Israel bond. I didn't realize this until a month or two ago when my mother sent me the matured bond, and suggested that I cash it.
I love the super pro-industrialist imagery across the top. A plane, a ship, a factory, and some cranes.
I actually had a lot of difficulty with this. I wrestled with the idea of re-investing it, but I wondered what my loan of $500 would do for Israel. I debated giving it to charity, but after reading We Wish to Inform You, and What is the What, I am dubious of the efficacy of international aid organizations, especially those who give microloans. For instance, Compartamos, a Mexican micro-lender started out as non-profit, complete with seed funds from philanthropists. In 2000 or so it went profit, and raised interest rates to 100%. It just went IPO, and now they stand to make a whole lot of money. From micro-lending. This just doesn't sit right with me.
At any rate, one of my friends' mother came up with the best option. Cash it out, and spend it either in Israel, or on Israeli products. I like this idea a lot, as I firmly believe that it is better to "teach a man to fish" than to give him charity. It does, however, present me with some difficulty. I'm not going to Israel anytime soon (stupid chag eating up my vacation days), so I am wondering what the best way would be to find Israeli products (or charities, some of them are great) where the money goes straight to Israel. Suggestions welcomed.
As an aside, part of the process of redeeming my bond required a copy of my birth certificate. I can't remember if I had ever seen it before, but it was kind of neat; a historical document of my life. The handwriting looks like my father's, but as it is a photocopy I'm not sure. Nothing deep to say about it, except that it is pretty neat.
*ZL"T stands for "zichron le'tov" or "may he/she be remembered for good." It is a suffix often added on to the name/mention of people who have passed away. Also, in this case "for good" does not mean "forever" but instead "in a good way."