by Robin B. Zeiger
Richmond hosted the JCC Maccabi Games this year. Over 800 youth Jewish youth participated, including 13 from Emek Hefer, Richmond's Jewish Agency Partnership 2000 Region in Israel. In order to bring a snapshot of our Partnership, we are presenting some reflections from teens and parents on both sides of the ocean.
For the past 15 years, Nannette Shor has worked as a residential mortgage broker. She is chair of the women's division Jewish Community Federation of Richmond 2011 campaign. She serves on the JCFR board and is a past member of the executive committee of the Richmond Jewish Foundation. She is chair of the Forum for the JCC's Patron of the Art Series. Nannette is married to Nathan and the mother of Marla, 21, Rachel, 18, and Adam, 15.
Nannette Shor began her interview with "Richmond is still on a high from hosting Maccabi." She could not say enough good things. With pride, she recounted how the entire Richmond community gave a standing ovation to the Israeli delegation as they entered the opening ceremony.
Several Israeli children stayed at the Shor household. The delegation from Emek Hefer arrived a bit early so as to get to know Richmond even better. These teens jumped into the festivities with passion and excitement. In Nannette's words, "They were like our children. We all really got close. The girls cried at the airport. The kids didn't want to leave."
Nannette understands the importance of connections between Jewish teens in the Diaspora and Israel. With fondness, she recounted her own experiences as a teen when she was involved with the Israeli scouts. Now, thirty years later, Nannette still keeps in touch. Likewise, she is confident that the relationships forged between Emek Hefer and Richmond families will last a lifetime.
Life is a bit different now than when Nannette was a teen. It is much easier to keep in touch. The Richmond/Emek Hefer participants are keeping in constant touch across cyberspace via Facebook and Skype. In some ways, it is as they have never left.
Nannette also reflected on the effects of the Partnership in general. The Shors have been involved with Partnership 2000 since it began. They have housed Emek Hefer teens when they came to Richmond to visit. At one point, Nannette's husband served as the basketball coach for Maccabi. To this day, the families keep in touch. The Shors made Emek Hefer a part of their trip to Israel. One moment stands out in Nannette's mind. While in Israel, they visited with an important Arab family that lives in Emek Hefer. As they sat at their table, they talked about the joint desire for peace. This moment forever impacted Nannette's children and for that she is grateful. Nannette recently joined the Partnership 2000 committee.
Perhaps the best endorsement in Nannette's mind is the response of her son, Adam (15). He can't wait to go to Israel next summer for the Maccabi games. He is already planning his stay at Guy Wiser's house, his new buddy in Emek Hefer as well as spending time with his other friend Nir Elfenbaum.