The Jewish Agency for Israels Partnership2Gether (P2G) peoplehood platform, which connects some 550 communities around the world in 45 partnerships and engages more than 350,000 participants every year, has been building living bridges between communities in Israel and the Diaspora for nearly 20 years.
In 2014, P2G facilitated Israel experiences for its Diaspora partners, including approximately 2,100 Israelis who hosted P2G visitors from around the world, 2,300 global Jewish community members who received home hospitality in Israel from their Israeli partners, an additional 32,000 individuals who attended P2G mega-events, and 240 participants who came to the P2G-Masa Mifgash. Moreover, 52,000 students around the world were involved in the Global School Twinning Network.
Source of strength
Peoples true colors come out during trying times. In the case of Summer 2014, they were beautiful and heartwarming colors. Throughout the months of July and August, we were struck again by what we already know: our strength in Partnership2Gether is each of our partners abroad. They have been a source of strength for so many of us in Israel, asserts Andrea Arbel, Director of JAFIs Partnership Unit. Their ongoing acts of solidarity from afar and in Israel are uplifting.
Throughout Operation Protective Edge, The Jewish Agency worked tirelessly to send children from southern Israel for days of respite in the center and north. Together with the support of JFNAs Stop the Sirens campaign, The Jewish Agency provided fun days for 73,000 children, youth and adult chaperones. Furthermore, the P2G International Steering Committee (P2G ISC) raised $50,000 to provide assistance to the Southern Partnerships, enabling them to purchase much needed games, arts and crafts and other supplies for the long days that children were spending in bomb shelters. This resource flexibility was critical to the municipalities ability to address these immediate needs and, of no less importance, gave a boost of moral support.
Here are a few examples of shared strength in the Partnership family during Operation Protective Edge:
- A participant of Greater MetroWest (GMW)–Ofakim-Merchavims Jewish Peoplehood Program #3, David Malchman, has a son, Josh, who is a lone IDF soldier. The police bomb squad unit in Ofakim decided to adopt Josh and his unit, visiting them regularly, doing their laundry, and providing love and care. Davids wife Caryn said, To know that Josh is being watched over by the mensches of Ofakim brings an indescribable sense of relief to my heart.
- The Director of New Orleans–Rosh Haayin connected his colleague Tzachi Levy, the Director of Netivot-Sdot Negev–Philadelphia and Kiryat Malachi-Hof Ashkelon–Tucson-Phoenix-Seattle, to the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. A letter Tzachi wrote about life on the Gaza border was so moving to the attendees at a New Orleans solidarity event that they spontaneously raised $10,000 for the border kibbutz of Kfar Aza. Then, New Orleans partners in Rosh Haayin similarly raised funds, in shekels, for the same community.
- When some good people in Cleveland heard that two soldiers from their Partnership community of Beit Shean were injured in Gaza, they decided to send financial assistance to these young men. This act of pure kindness boosted the soldiers spirits – so important to speedy recoveries.
- The Greater Miami Jewish Federation had 70 cakes and countless cookies sent to the soldiers in the base neighboring their Partner community of Yerucham. The goodies included notes that said With love from the Miami Community and were delivered by members of the Yerucham Youth Council.
The above examples are just a sample of the hundreds of expressions of support expressed in the Partnership Family. The aftershock of Protective Edge is still being felt in Israel. In P2G, the ongoing efforts to strengthen the resiliency of the Jewish people continues.
For more information about Partnership2Gether, go to www.jewishagency.org.