The Partnership has helped to foster quality relationships between American and Israeli leaders in a comfortable environment where we are able to learn from each other

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By Joseph Alvo, Leadership 2Gether Participant 

Ten years ago, I came to Charleston from the large Jewish community of Atlanta, where it felt like everyone knew me. I was immersed in a conservative way of life, well versed in my own Jewish identity, happily keeping kosher, and attending synagogue every Shabbat. I was a man land-locked into the city where I grew up, having never spread my wings even to go away to school.  

I knew I belonged somewhere else, and that there would be a lot more to learn about relationships before I could fully immerse myself into an understanding of who I am destined to become.  Once I got to Charleston, I found myself alone in what appeared to me to be a sizable yet diverse Jewish community. In Charleston, it dawned on me just how different we are as a Jewish people. Admittedly, moving to Charleston was in part an escape, and a chance to start over, as I should have done long ago when I went to college.  Still, as wild as my life has been, I continue to be amazed how diverse a people I come from. Now able to focus on myself more than the outside world, I found myself having Ah-ha moments constantly.

Partnership 2gether's Leadership 2Gether Program (L2G) has led me to partner cities like Chattanooga, Nashville, Hadera (Israel), and most recently Jacksonville.  In March 2019, L2G invited us to meet our partners in Israel. Since it had been way too long since my last trip to HaAretz (Israel), I jumped at the chance to go.  I was lucky to have been in this program long enough that while in Israel, I met both my former partner that moved outside the Hadera region, other Israeli friends I made in our partner cities, as well as my latest partner, Chef Roy. Personally, I was very happy to host Chef Roy in my home for a couple of days in early November.  He taught me how to make Israeli red cabbage salad, and shared with me the secrets of great hummus and eggplant dishes! At the same time, I was able to introduce him to soul food that he enjoyed. 




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02 Dec 2019 / 4 Kislev 5780 0