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Pittsburgh • Karmiel~Misgav: Living Bridges in the Jewish Future

How do we make peoplehood tangible in our 21st century world? We’re doing it. The impressive achievements of the first ten years of our partnership demonstrate our collective force when we partner in common purpose.

Since 1994, when leaders from our community stepped forward to become part of the Jewish Agency’s Partnership 2000 (P2K), our commitment and involvement have become a powerful catalyst for change in Pittsburgh and Karmiel-Misgav.

Today, we are one of 550 global communities in 44 partnerships with Israel. Sharing ideas, strengths, challenges and models of success, our P2K partnerships have become the paradigm for successfully partnering the Jewish world.

What Will You Make of It?

1994  The first steering committee meetings are held in Karmiel-Misgav.

1995  Kefiyada English camp is established with counselors from the Baltimore and Pittsburgh communities working alongside their Israeli counterparts. 150 Israeli children from the region enjoy a wide range of activities.

1996  A group of teens from Pittsburgh and Baltimore travels to Karmiel-Misgav to join teens from the region for the first Teen Leadership Seminar. Teens from Israel reciprocate with visits to Pittsburgh and Baltimore during the Tishrei holidays.

1997  First Woman’s Division visit to the region. Twelve women from Baltimore and Pittsburgh visit for one week, getting to know women in the region and discussing the issues of business and woman’s health.

1998  Community-wide Bar/Bat Mitzvah for disadvantaged children in the region.

1999  Dedication of the Baltimore Pittsburgh Promenade in Karmiel—a gift from the municipality of Karmiel to the partnership.

2000  First Economic Development Conference in the Galilee with participation of professors from Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University and business people from Baltimore.

2001  Solidarity mission from Pittsburgh stands together in support of friends in the region at a time of stress and uncertainty in Israel. • Opening of the Weiner Na’amat Woman’s Health Center supported by the Morris and Adel Weiner/Na’amat Endowment fund.

2002  Group of adults from U.S. volunteers in the soup kitchen, food pantry, civil guard, special needs facilities and on the Army base in the region.

2003  Visiting group from Baltimore and Pittsburgh receives certificate of commendation from Karmiel and Misgav at the Yom Haatzmaut celebrations.

2004  First Ceremonies group travels to Pittsburgh to perform in front of the community on the days of Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut, transmitting the feelings of Israelis on such difficult days. • A $2.4 million loan fund is established by Pittsburgh and the Jewish Agency to help businesses, unemployed individuals and students from the region.

2005  Our partnership celebrates its first 10 years. 150 participants visit Karmiel-Misgav celebrating this wonderful partnership with 800-plus participants of projects in the past and present at a huge party. • Pittsburgh and Karmiel-Misgav establish new Partnership 2000 bylaws to celebrate first ten years together.

2006  The first Young Adults Division (YAD) delegation with 86 participants comes to the region and spends two days getting to know their counterparts in Karmiel-Misgav—enjoying recreational activities, volunteering and visiting the children’s village and Kibbutz Eshbal.

A Decade of Connection

Our partnership began in June 1994, at a meeting that brought together leaders from our communities.

Our mission was twofold: help stem assimilation in our community by helping our young people develop close bonds to Israel and the Jewish world; and support communities in Israel’s strategic periphery. Karmiel, the Galilee’s largest urban center, and the Misgav region are in the hills of western and central Galilee—one of Israel’s most demographically complex areas. Karmiel is home to residents from 75 countries, a melting pot of culture and tradition. Misgav, a rural area filled with small hilltop communities, is diversified for all interests and ways of life. The region is rich in resources, but being in Israel’s periphery, attracting businesses to the region has been a challenge.

A Decade of Mutual Impact

Our Pittsburgh community was determined to change the dynamics throughout the region.

During the first years, we focused on economic development through MATI—enabling new businesses to take root. Until P2K, there was virtually no collaboration between Karmiel and Misgav, but our Pittsburgh community worked to find a common denominator. Our persistence paid off with closer cooperation, helping the entire region boost job development, increase tourism and improve cultural life. Thanks to funding we made available for marketing the city and its industrial park through our Pittsburgh Loan Fund for Businesses, Karmiel succeeded in creating approximately 1,200 desperately needed jobs for residents.

Our visionary partnership has contributed greatly to the educational and social development of the area.

We never settled for a partnership on paper, but rather a deeper commitment to the region. Through our partnership, our young people have connected through the Teen Leadership program, bringing 100 teens to Israel. Women from our communities have participated in the Women’s Forum and Voices 2000 projects—one being our own version of “Race for the Cure” called “Hila B’Galil.” Our teachers gained a great insight on bringing Israel into the classroom through a 2-year program for teachers on both sides of the ocean. Our people-to-people projects have connected hundreds of youth and adults in projects that make a difference.

We have built living bridges between Pittsburgh and Karmiel-Misgav through scores of reciprocal visits of teachers, principals, doctors, families, students and volunteers— strengthening both of our communities.

“P2K is a true ‘Living Bridge’ connecting our communities in the most positive and profound way. Our young people who have been involved in Partnership projects over the years all remark on the importance of experiencing what it means to be a Jew in the Diaspora. And North American Jews need to understand Israelis and the importance of Israel for the future of the Jewish People. We need to learn from each other.”  Sheila Zettler, Israel Living Bridge Subcommittee Chair

“I believe that P2K is the single most important project that the United Jewish Federation does in connecting Pittsburghers and Israelis on every level—economic, social, and people-to-people.”  Judy Wein, Pittsburgh Living Bridge Subcommittee Chair

Together, taking our partnership to the next level

What an extraordinary impact we’ve had so far. And it’s really just the beginning. Our efforts in the Karmiel-Misgav region are uniting our youth and fostering professional exchanges; promoting excellence in education and technology; attracting development; and creating places where families want to live and work.

At the same time, we are innovating to connect our next generation to Israel in new ways and creating enduring connections that will shape Pittsburgh’s future. A decade ago, our communities boldly grasped this opportunity to make a dramatic difference as one people. Now we’re ready to take this partnership to the next level.

Related Activity
  • Get Involved with Jewish Agency Business to Business Initiative
  • Jewish Agency Israel Department Movie Archive
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  • Jewish Birthday Finder


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Thursday 24 April, 2014 (c) All rights reserved to the Jewish Agency יום חמישי כ"ד ניסן תשע"ד