‘Visit to Israel valuable and inspiring’

‘Visit to Israel valuable and inspiring’

I read with great interest the article regarding the 30 delegates from UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey who recently visited Israel for United Jewish Communities’ General Assembly. As was said by Gale Bindelglass, who co-chaired the delegation: “One of the highlights … was the way Israelis interacted with Americans.” Rabbi Neal Borovitz, the other co-chair, commented on the “changing nature” of the relationship to a “partnership between American and Israeli Jews.”

But what was absent from the article and deserves to be underscored is the success of our own Northern New Jersey-Nahariya Partnership 2000. The partnership was celebrated at a wonderful reception on Nov. 16 on the Hebrew Union College Campus in Jerusalem. There our Nahariya colleagues joined with our delegates to share experiences, stories, and a festive meal. Raya Strauss, P2K international chair and UJA NNJ/Nahariya P2K chair, addressed the delegates along with other P2K notables. In addition, a PowerPoint presentation was shown on our many achievements since the partnership with Nahariya was established in 2003. We were inspired by the many teacher-student exchanges between our two communities, our medical partnerships between the Western Galilee Hospital and our local hospital physicians who have shared expertise, and visits by social workers and JCC and YJCC personnel with programs in both communities. Most recently, a local police and fire delegation visited Nahariya and environs, to share their knowledge of security and safety measures in pursuit of strengthening the protection of both northern New Jersey and Nahariya.

The visit to Israel was valuable and inspiring for all the reasons cited in your article, and especially because of the importance of building a strong connection with Israel. Indeed, the partnership we offer with our counterparts in Nahariya is open to all interested newcomers. Your readers are invited to call call Machla Shaffer, P2K coordinator at UJA-NNJ, (201) 820-3900, ext. 235, for more information or to inquire about ways they can participate in this special program.