צילום: דניאל גלבוע Photo: Daniel Gilboa

Last week, Andrea Arbel attended a ceremony at the Knesset marking the “Jewish-American Contribution to the Yishuv and the State of Israel”

Last week, I attended a ceremony at the Knesset marking the “Jewish-American Contribution to the Yishuv and the State of Israel”.  Speakers hailed from across the Israeli political spectrum – from the Prime Minister of Israel Bibi Netanyahu to the Leader of the Opposition MK Isaac Herzog.  The ceremony was initiated by the Chair for the Lobby for US-Israel Relations MK Dr. Nachman Shai, and other speakers included Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein, the Jewish Agency’s Chairman Natan Sharansky, US Ambassador Daniel Shapiro and the lineup was closed by a moving speech by JFNA’s Board of Trustees Chairman Richard Sandler. Adorning the walls was an interesting historical photo exhibit “Stripes, Stars and Magen David” produced by the Ruderman Program for American-Jewish Studies at Haifa University.

As I sat in the Chagall Hall, I couldn’t remember when a single topic brought so many Israeli politicians to a moment of sincere consensus. From right, center to left there was agreement on the invaluable contribution of North American Jewry to the sheer existence of the State of Israel prior to 1948 and thereafter.  It was fully recognized that without the tremendous financial, political and even professional support of North American Jewry, the Jewish population could easily have not endured. And while this ceremony specifically marked the contribution of NA Jewry, clearly, it is true for all of world Jewry.

The same leaders also agree that Israelis need to gain a fuller understanding of this shared history and even more so of contemporary world Jewry.  They agree that Israelis need to understand the trends and challenges being faced by world Jewry.  They agreed that our fate is intertwined. World Jewry needs a strong relationship with Israel to ensure a strong future and vice versa. Israelis and world Jewry need to get to know each other personally. As Bibi so rightly remarked: Every Jew should spend time in an Israeli home. Sound familiar my friends? 

This is what we do every day in Partnership2Gether to strengthen world Jewry. How many of you have broken bread in one another’s homes?  How many Israelis have come to your communities and discovered the strengths and challenges of your communities? How many Israelis discovered the beauty of Jewish pluralism as expressed in NA and beyond.  Today in P2G, we come together to strengthen one another as we each have something unique to give, take and share. We continue to share professional expertise while being inspired by each other’s Jewish culture. Our young people continue to learn together and about each other in our school twinning and leadership programs, and so much more. We warmly recognize the generosity of our host families on both sides of the ocean who open their homes and hearts.

Do our programs have to be exceptionally professional? Absolutely yes! But  it is when we have a cup of coffee together in the intimacy of our homes that something special happens. That is when we share about our lives, families, communities, as well as our hopes and concerns for our shared fate. That is when new friends and family are made.

We thank all of you for doing what you do in such a personal and professional way. 

Sincerely,

Andrea

 

 

 

 

צילום: דוברות הכנסת - יצחק הררי Photo: Knesset Media and Publc Relations Devision - Isaac Harari

 

 

 

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01 Jun 2016 / 24 Iyar 5776 0