Tags: Beit She'an, Birthright, Cleveland, Israel, Jewish
The Cleveland Birthright trip has been amazing! It’s only the third full day here and the group (many of which traveled alone not knowing anyone prior) has meshed and bonded quickly – it’s been really great watching so many friendships form. Today we travelled to our Partnership region of Beit Shean. We were greeted with the words “Welcome Home” by Lior, Dror and Tomer (Lior was wearing his “CleveLAND that I Love t-shirt) for a morning bike ride through Beit Shean’s Spring Park. We saw the beautiful land and the kibbutz farm.
We then split into groups to spend some time at three homes – we were hosted by people from Ethiopia, Egypt and Iraq. The homes were lovely and the hospitality and warmth was incredible. Continue Reading Postcards from Israel – Cleveland goes on Birthright!…
The settlements in the Valley of the Springs, which is part of our Partnership region of Beit Shean, are opening their doors and hearts to help young people from the South. In addition to covering all accommodation costs, all tourism sites in the region are granting free admission to anyone from the Southern region.
Tonight, a wonderful cultural event for the guests was hosted in our Partnership region and volunteers from P2K came to the event to pass out refreshments to the teenagers from the South.
Our dollars from Cleveland helped bring these teenagers to the area and we also helped fund the evening’s activities. A banner was displayed reading “From Cleveland With Love for the residents of the South”
Our new Partnership Director, Dror Gershoni, wrote the following to us an hour ago:
“I’m writing to let you know that today I felt very proud to be part of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. Your commitment and immediate response to the needs of the residents of the South has been heartwarming. Due to your dedication, more than 200 teenagers, who constantly suffer from the stress of a routine of landing rockets from Gaza, were able to relax for 3 hours, disconnect from the pressure and worries and enjoy an amazing cultural show, in which they took an active part.
Tonight, the dark open skies of Beit Shean/Valley of Springs region were shining as they lit the strong connection between the communities.
A guest post by Neil Waxman
Arrival:Thursday & Friday
Wanting to give the less experienced St. Petersburg travelers some cushion to adjust, rather than jump right into touring of programs and facilities, we took a day of touring, some of which was driven by wanting to tour Peterhof, Peter the Great’s summer palace surrounded by gardens and an unimaginable number of fountains of every size and style – all powered by gravity – before it closed for the season on Sunday. This was intended to be Versailles “on steroids”, and that is exactly what it is.
This was followed by a trip to Catherine’s Palace, which is clearly part of the trifecta of highlights on anyone’s tour of St. Petersburg. The sheer size of these buildings is practically inconceivable.
I never cease to be amazed at the magnificent beauty of St. Petersburg only to be outdone by the awe inspiring members of this Jewish Community with whom we have spent time since touch down on Thursday PM: those who are recipients of services, which we support, those who help support those programs, and the professionals who do the heavy lifting at these organizations. Continue Reading From Russia with love – St. Petersburg Mission…
Guest post by Neil Waxman
JCF’s work began during the worst economic conditions facing Russia since WWII: the ruble crashed, the stock market fell 75%, and the government defaulted on its debt. We began by helping those who could not help themselves: elderly, who were immobile, living in Stalinesk 5th floor walk apartments, with little food and even less medical attention; an under supply of Jewish kindergartens, and childcare, and where it existed, conditions were less than substandard. Our goals were to focus most of our resources and attention in a barbell sort of approach on those two cohort groups; however, to ultimately work toward the middle: teens, young adults, families, and the like. Some of those children, who attended our kindergartens, are now our camp counselors, and some of those teens who were active in Hillel are now working in the Jewish organizations, which we have helped to establish.
Roll forward to September 9th 2005: after 7 years of very heavy lifting by the American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), other international Jewish foundations and organizations, in conjunction with the Jewish Federation of Cleveland (JFC), it’s staff and lay leaders, and our partners in the St. Petersburg Jewish Community, the ribbon was cut on the YESOD Continue Reading St. Petersburg, Russia – Our Work Began in 1998…
Guest post by Neil Waxman
Until the late 1700’s, Russia generally prohibited Jews from living within its boundaries, but suddenly found itself the “beneficiary” of over 1,000,000 Jews upon the annexation of Poland. From that period until recent times, Russian policy toward its Jews has vacillated between assimilation, discrimination, and isolation, compounded by 4 years of Nazi assault on the Pale of Settlement, bringing desecration and mass execution.
With the deterioration of Communism in the late 80’s, the world got its first real glimpse of the remnants of Judaism in the Former Soviet Union (FSU): what we found when the curtain lifted was over 2,000,000 Jews. Ironically the Russian government’s obsession with keeping census data for all citizens of Jewish decent turned out to be a blessing, Continue Reading JFC Mission to St. Petersburg, Russia October 10 – 17th – Back Story to Cleveland’s Engagement…
Guest post by Neil Waxman
Be a Witness to History: join me for the Jewish Federation of Cleveland (JFC) Mission to St Petersburg, Russia October 10 – 17th. Rising from the ashes of over 200 years of Czarist and Communist religious oppression including the 900 day Siege of Leningrad by the Nazi’s, St. Petersburg has experienced an unparalleled, modern day renewal of Jewish life, with the support and guidance of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. Continue Reading To Saint Petersburg… with Love!…
Women Meeting Women, Forging Connections – Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Professional Women’s Mission to IsraelAugust 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Posted in Stories from Israel | Leave a comment
This past June, 12 women from Cleveland’s Jewish community participated in the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s first Professional Women’s Mission to Israel. The week-long trip was the first mission from Cleveland to bring professional women together. The itinerary included visits with Israeli professional women such as Ester Levanon, CEO of the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange and also several cultural excursions.
While visiting Israel’s Supreme Court building, the women gained a taste of the complexity of Israeli life. Sitting in briefly on a Supreme Court hearing, the group learned of a five-year-old boy living in the Gaza strip who wanted to visit his father in the West Bank, a domestic situation showcasing the political complexities of Israeli life. The group of women was well suited to the tour and subsequent discussion. Top professionals in their field, entrepreneurs and executives, the twelve women engaged with the subject material directly and thoughtfully. Continue Reading Women Meeting Women, Forging Connections – Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Professional Women’s Mission to Israel…
Jewish Federation of Cleveland staff team volunteers for the Community Kitchen – Summer Food Service Program.August 14, 2012 at 10:45 am | Posted in Volunteer | Leave a comment
“Hunger strikes at the core of a person’s dignity.” This statement, mentioned in an introductory video at the Cleveland Foodbank resonated with the Jewish Federation of Cleveland ICG staff team who volunteered last week at the Community Kitchen – Summer Food Service Program.
Helping the poor and feeding those who are hungry is an important Jewish value that has its roots in the book of Leviticus. (19:9-10)
When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap all the way to the corners of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. You shall not pick your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger. Continue Reading Jewish Federation of Cleveland staff team volunteers for the Community Kitchen – Summer Food Service Program….
Blog Post Week of July 19 – 25, 2012
Thursday started early in the morning, like most Thursday’s. After congregating outside of Beit Leni the group piled into the bus and, as we have become accustom to doing, quickly fell asleep for the bus ride to the north. After what seemed like 15 minutess of sleep on the bus, which turned out to actually be a couple hours later, we arrived at a place in the Galilee called Kishorit. After a short introduction video and talk about what Kishorit does we received a tour of the grounds.
Before going into what happened on our tour I want to take a little bit of time to highlight what Kishorit does. Kishorit is a community that is dedicated to serving Israeli adults with special needs. Continue Reading Shalom from Onward Israel! – A blog post from Sam Stulberg…
Blog Post Week of July 19 – 25, 2012
Thursday started early in the morning, like most Thursday’s. After congregating outside of Beit Leni the group piled into the bus and, as we have become accustom to doing, quickly fell asleep for the bus ride to the north. After what seemed like 15 minutess of sleep on the bus, which turned out to actually be a couple hours later, we arrived at a place in the Galilee called Kishorit. After a short introduction video and talk about what Kishorit does we received a tour of the grounds. Continue Reading Shalom from Onward Israel! – A blog post from Sam Stulberg…