This was the first visit by an Israeli Partnership 2000 delegation to Pittsburgh in two years and it included many new volunteer participants from the Jewish state.
“It was great to see so many new faces from Israel around the table,” Skip Grinberg, co-chair of Partnership 2000, said in a prepared statement. “It demonstrates the widening involvement in Israel by the Karmiel and Misgav communities.”
“This was a wonderful opportunity for us to share our visions for the future of the Partnership with our Israeli friends and allow them to obtain a better understanding of the challenges we face being Jewish in America,” added Partnership 2000 Co-Chair Linda Simon, also in the prepared statement.
Partnership 2000 links Pittsburgh and northern Galilee communities of Karmiel and Misgav through joint programs related to regional development, community building and youth initiatives.
Participants in this recent meeting discussed the status of ongoing projects; have working professional meetings between Pittsburgh and Israeli counterparts. The meetings were a follow up to those held last May in Israel where funding decisions were made related to programs that are currently underway.
A highlight of the meetings was the engagement of volunteer leadership and staff and surrounding the new Diller Teen Fellows Program.
The Diller Teen Fellows Program is an international teen leadership program to be launched in Pittsburgh in the coming months with 20 Jewish students in 10th and 11th grades who will join with 20 students from Karmiel and Misgav.
The program creates opportunities for the students to cultivate leadership skills, explore Israel-Diaspora relations and develop and implement community service projects. There is a significant Israel experience component attached to the program. Additionally, it will unite teens from more than a dozen cities in North America and Israel.
The Diller volunteers and staff from Pittsburgh and Israel traveled to Baltimore this past week for a national training program in preparation for the launch of the project in Pittsburgh and Israel. Currently, the interview process is underway and the 20 teens will be selected soon.
Among the other projects discussed were:
• The Counselor in Training program with the Jewish Community Center where last year 47 Pittsburgh teens traveled to Israel and joined in leadership training in the Partnership region;
• The opening of the Partnership 2000 Bike Trail in the region. The creation of this important, new attraction in the region is part of a larger tourism plan where the trail will eventually connect to a nationwide Israel bike system.
• The Teen Ceremonies Group that brought 10 teen performers to Pittsburgh from Israel who spent 10 days participating in Israel celebrations and commemorations. The program reached hundreds of students in supplementary synagogue schools, day schools, public schools and older adult populations.