A group of eleven young people, in grades 10 - 12 from Karmiel and Misgav, left prior to Israel's Independence Day for a round of performances in the United States. The young people traveled to Pittsburgh to participate in a series of scheduled events sponsored by the local Jewish community to mark Israel's Memorial Day and Independence Day festivities. The Jewish Agency - Karmiel - Misgav P2Gether, the Misgav Community Center and the Karmiel Community Center Network sponsored the delegation.
The visit's emotional highlight was the delegation's leading role in the community's Memorial Day ceremony (~500 people). The ceremony included a wide range of dance, song, poetry and dramatic segments all in fluent English. "As I looked around, during and after the performance", Tomer Hoffman, the delegation's manager recounted, "there was not a dry eye in the house."
During the next day's Independence Day performances conducted in various locations throughout the community, the delegation received tremendous applause. Each time the audience gave a highly emotional standing ovation! In fact, the delegation's performances were the main event for the community's Israel Independence Day celebrations. For Maayan Yuval - Shoham, an experienced director who wrote, directed and prepared the various ceremonies with the young people, this was a very different type of personal and professional experience. Mor Bartal, from the Misgav community of Manof, joined the group as a Jr. Counselor. As someone who has been there before, Mor, a 12th grader, who performed with the delegation two years earlier, helped the young people from this year's delegation enjoy this very special experience.
During the delegation's 10 - day visit to the Pittsburgh area, the group conducted some 15 performance before a wide variety of audiences such as pre-schoolers, school - age and Senior Citizens, etc. Another unique opportunity experienced by the delegation was the meeting in Pittsburgh with an 8-member delegation of wounded IDF veterans. The two delegations traveled together to the local memorial constructed to commemorate the memory of those killed during the September 11 attacks. At 11 AM, the Israelis stopped along the side of the road, a main American highway, and stood in silence for two minutes, in respect for the two-minute siren heard on that day throughout the State of Israel. The young people were awarded the priceless chance to become acquainted with and hear the personal stories of the IDF veterans, how they were wounded and for our young people, it was a very special opportunity, one with little chance of occurring in Israel.
Tomer Hoffman summarized the experience by stating, "I had the opportunity, a wonderful opportunity and privilege to travel together with these amazing young people to Pittsburgh and all of us are so very proud today to be Israelis. The young people brought a lot of honor and respect to the country, our region and particularly to themselves and their families".
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