Postcards from Israel – Cleveland goes on Birthright!

January 3, 2013 at 9:55 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Hi Everyone!

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!…

Federation Collecting Donations for Bulgaria Terror Victims

July 23, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Posted in Action Alerts | Leave a comment
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Smoke rising from the terror attack in BulgariaThe Fund for the Victims of Terror, operated by The Jewish Agency for Israel and made possible by contributions to the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and Jewish Federations across North America, will provide financial assistance to Israelis wounded in the attack in Bulgaria and to the families of those killed.

Bulgarian authorities have now established that a suicide bomber, carrying an apparently fake U.S. passport, blew up a bus carrying newly arrived Israeli tourists, outside the airport of the resort city of Burgas. Six Israeli tourists and the Bulgarian bus driver were killed in the attack, as was the suicide bomber.

A team of Israeli doctors and first responders, led by Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center Dir.-Gen. Prof. Gabriel Barbash, along with Foreign Affairs Ministry professionals and security personnel flew directly to Burgas following the attack and an extended team from Israel a few hours later. Shortly afterwards, Israel Air Force Hercules transport planes airlifted 32 of the wounded Israelis back to Israel. Another plane load of the injured will be flown back to Israel later today. An additional three Israeli victims in critical condition will remain hospitalized in Bulgaria.

The Fund for the Victims of Terror, established in 2002, provides financial assistance to victims of terror in Israel. Since its establishment, the fund — which is sustained by contributions from Jewish Federations, philanthropic foundations and donors around the world — has enabled The Jewish Agency to provide thousands of terror victims and their families with assistance at a scope of more than NIS 100 million.

Contributions to the Fund for Victims of Terror may be made online, by calling 216-593-2846, or by check, made payable to the Jewish Federation of Cleveland and sent to:

Jewish Federation of Cleveland
P.O. Box 74320
Cleveland, OH  44194-4320

Women Building Bridges March

February 1, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Posted in Upcoming Events | Leave a comment
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On behalf of our partners in the region of Beit Shean/Emek HaMayanot, we invite you to participate in a Cleveland delegation to the fifth Women Building Bridges March, joining an expected 5,000 women from Israel’s Arab and Jewish sectors and Jordan to march together in friendship.

The conference will be held on Thursday, March 10. The march will be on Friday, March 11, at the Old Bridge site adjacent to Kibbutz Gesher on the Bridge for Peace between Jordan and Israel. The dates coincide with the 100th observance of the International Women’s Day. Program highlights will include a joint march through the landscapes of the Jordan River, a bike trip to the Island of Peace, workshops and activities directed towards the women participants as well as performances, sports competitions, opportunities for dialogue and a special commemorative ceremony (see schedule for more information).

Additional partners supporting the march include the Jewish National Fund, the Israeli Ministry of Culture and Sport, the Israeli Ministry of Regional Development, the Authority for the Development of the Galilee and the Israel State Department.

We look forward to your response indicating your interest in participating with us in the Women Building Bridges March and to organizing an extended itinerary for your visit. Please RSVP your interest to Sally Levine at the Federation – or 216.593.2900, ext. 305.

Sincerely, Cindy Attias, P2K Chair Suellen Kadis, Women’s Philanthropy Chair Women Building Bridges March

About the March

In 1994, upon the signing of the peace accords, Sheikh Hussein Bridge was opened for passage of civilians and merchandise between Israel and Jordan. The Valley of the Springs Regional Council viewed this as an opportunity for initiating contacts and generating cooperative working relations with its neighbors from the east, and for mutual ties between the nations on both sides of the border.

The first international women’s march of this kind in the region – Women’s March for Peace – was held in 1999. The march took place along the Israel – Jordan border, along the length of the Jordan River, and approximately 1,500 Israeli women – Jews and Arabs alike – participated. A delegation of women from Jordan arrived and the women marched the length of the route together. Two other marches followed thereafter. The last march was held two years ago when approximately 3,000 women participated from all sectors together with 30 women from Jordan and retired General Mansoor Abu-Rashad, Director of the Institute for Peace and Regional Economic Development in Amman.

Nearly 70 Clevelanders Meet Up in Israel

January 24, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Posted in Voices from Israel | Leave a comment
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Clevelanders Group Photo

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“I’m so glad that even though I left Cleveland, Cleveland didn’t forget about me!” – Sarah Jaffe, Clevelander spending her Gap year in Israel

Close to seventy young people from Cleveland are spending a year in Israel on a wide variety of gap year and post-college programs. The Jewish Federation of Cleveland in conjunction with Akiva held a dinner at the end of December to connect and hear from these young people. Over 25 young people gathered at a Café in Jerusalem over salads and pasta. We learned how people are spending their time in Israel and brainstormed about how the Federation can enrich their time in Israel. It was fun to see familiar faces and enjoy a delicious dinner. The night ended with coffee, hot chocolate, cake, and hugs.

The Federation is beginning to explore ways we can support these young people while in Israel. If you or your child recently returned from a gap or post-college program in Israel, or would like to get involved with this initiative we would like to hear from you. Please be in touch with Ilanit Gerblich Kalir, Senior Associate in International Operations at

Suellen Kadis Blogs from Israel – Day 1

October 22, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Posted in Voices from Israel | Leave a comment
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Our group on Day 1 was me, Suellen Kadis, Chair of Women’s Philanthropy, Larry Kadis, OCC Chair, Cindy Attias, Partnership 2000 Chair and Oren Baratz, VP of External Affairs and Director of Overseas Operations.

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Right off the plane at the airport, we had our first meeting with Hannah Aharony, Director of ISHA, the Women’s Health Initiative, and Patrick Levy, Director of Healing Across the Divides. ISHA is the Women’s Health Initiative started by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland 10 years ago, which works to improve the health of women in Israel by teaching physicians, nurses and other health care workers about the unique and special problems that are frequently overlooked in women. HATD is a Boston-based non-governmental organization working in Israel to bridge the gaps between different segments of Israeli society. Hannah and Patrick are working together in the hopes of creating a new partnership that Cleveland Federation may participate in through the OCC and Women’s Philanthropy. The possibility of moving forward with this new venture is very exciting!

Next we headed north on Highway 6, which now connects the north and south in Israel. In 90 minutes we were at Gesher Kibbutz having lunch and discussing the development of regional tourism in the Valley of the Springs and City of Beit Shean. The valley and the city are beginning to work together to create “packages” so that a visitor from Israel or overseas could easily enjoy a few days in the area with plenty to do. Ideas such as bike tours, bird watching trips, and Bar Mitzvah celebrations were discussed as possible marketing tools. Many good ideas were shared and hopefully in the not too distant future this beautiful area will be on everyone’s must see list in Israel.

In the afternoon we saw the new community garden created with the help of Bridge to the Future and the local residents in the neighborhood. Adam Baratz, Oren’s son, spent last summer working with local volunteers encouraging the community to clean up and take responsibility for the space. Now there are trees planted – and we each planted another one – and a clean place for residents to gather and play. What Bridge to the Future accomplished was to empower the members of the community to get involved and realize that they can make a difference in their own neighborhoods. Many other projects like this are currently in the works. The ongoing transformation is remarkable to see.

After checking into our bed and breakfast and a short rest, we walked to Dream Café for a dinner meeting. We met with Ido Shalem, Director of Bridge to the Future, Dr. Idan Porat from Technion and Dana Robbins from Zionism 2000. We discussed the sustainability of some of the different programs and ways to measure success. Human, social, economic, political and infrastructure capital will be measured and a model will be developed. The details of much of it were lost in my sleepy head, but an update will be shared at the appropriate time, I’m sure.

We were happy to collapse in our beds after a full first day!

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel in Joint Press Availability

July 6, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Posted in News | Leave a comment
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The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
July 06, 2010

Oval Office

12:38 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, I just completed an excellent one-on-one discussion with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and I want to welcome him back to the White House.

I want to, first of all, thank him for the wonderful statement that he made in honor of the Fourth of July, our Independence Day, when he was still in Israel.  And it marked just one more chapter in the extraordinary friendship between our two countries. Continue Reading Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel in Joint Press Availability…

Voices from Israel: Arrival by Adam Baratz

June 2, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Adam Baratz, Voices from Israel | Leave a comment
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Flight number: CO84
Date: SAT 29 May 2010
Airline: Continental Airlines
Miles: 5692 miles

I board the Boing 777 at Newark International Airport. I have taken many flights out of Newark before, however, this time something is different. I am going back home for the first time in three years. This is the longest stretch of time that I have been away from my home. But at long last, I am going to Israel.

My name is Adam Baratz. I am currently a junior at Cornell studying Natural Resources and Development Sociology. To make a long story short, my grand scheme of being poor for the rest of my life is almost complete. In any event, this summer I will be working to develop a few community gardens in Beit She’an.

During my flight, I had two notable interactions. Boarding the plane, I had been waiting in line for 5 minutes. Suddenly, out of nowhere, an Israeli woman pushed in front of me for no apparent reason. This aggressive move was not warranted; no one was actually in a rush to board the plane. Such an experience would understandably annoy most people. Next, I interacted with an Israeli flight attendant. When serving water to children, this flight attendant jokingly tells them that the cups are full of vodka. To many, such anecdotes may seem strange and even rude. However, for me, these jokes were a breath of fresh air. These experiences gave me small glances into Israel’s culture. I have not been home in so long that I accept both the good and the bad with open arms.

Four and a half movies later (airplane time), which translates to 12 hours (human time), we touch down in Israel. Looking out the window I gaze out into the country of my birth.

This will be a trip of self-discovery. I grew up in Israel, but moved to the Cleveland 6 years ago. To put it simply, my sense of place is very complicated. Although I was born and raised in Israel, my life journey has not resembled the experience of the typical Israeli. For example, when growing up, my closest friends came from Americans families, we communicated in English. I spent a number of years attending the American International School in Kfar Shmaryahu. I am currently studying in an American university. Although my identity is intricately intertwined with Israel and Israeli Identity, it is also distinct in its own way. I therefore believe that this trip will help to resolve many uncertainties that I have about my own identity. What does it mean to be Israeli? What constitutes a home? Why do we need a home?

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