By Brenda Ganot
Partnership 2000 Beit Shemesh - Mateh Yehuda - Washington - South Africa of the Jewish Agency paid tribute to Mrs. Miriam (Mickey) Blumberg on December 16th at the Maaleh HaHamisha Hotel, with music, food, candle lighting and an exhibition created for her. This event marked the end of her official capacity as a Community Representative due to budget cuts from Keren HaYesod.
Mickey has served as the Community Representative of the South African Jewish community since the founding of the Partnership, 15 years ago. She has been a dedicated member of all of the Partnership's committees and has worked tirelessly for many important causes especially focusing on Economic Development initiatives.
In addition to her normal duties in the partnership, Mickey raised over a $100,000 from WIZO Women of South Africa which went towards women's empowerment projects in the Beit Shemesh Mateh Yehuda region. She was involved in organizing numerous courses for women (and sometimes for men) such as: courses for small businesses, advanced courses for businesses, computer training, mediation, women's leadership and other important subjects.
In 2004 Mickey had the incredible idea of taking a group of women from the region to South Africa to run an Ethnic Aroma Festival. The women were chosen for their outstanding cooking abilities and also for the potential to open their own catering businesses. The women ran a number of events in several different cities in South Africa that were a huge success, with hundreds of people attending. Following this event 4 other ethnic cooking missions have been sent to South Africa and the Jewish community of Greater Washington. The next mission leaves in January 2010 for Washington where they will run over 7 events in the community.
In 2006 Mickey organized a delegation of 6 musicians from the Beit Shemesh Music Conservatory, with their director, Marina Friedman, to South Africa. There they played over a dozen concerts, the highlight being their performance with the Johannesburg Philharmonic orchestra.
2008 brought with it Israel's 60th anniversary. Again Mickey organized a special delegation of cooks together with two gourmet chefs who ran a series of delicious events in South Africa.
This past year Mickey, together with Naveh Yogev, People to People coordinator at P2K, created a mission of Shoah Educators from South Africa to Israel. This mission traveled all over Israel including Yad Vashem where they learned from Israel's top Holocaust scholars.
These are just some of the highlights of Mickey Blumberg's work in the region in the past 14 years. The Partnership thanks Mickey for her endless dedication and professionalism and hopes to continue working with her for many years.