By: Tal Klemer
On Tuesday, July 1st 2008 I got on a flight together with Raz Izrael to Albany.
As soon as we got there, Marci Galinkin met us, and together, we took Raz who participates as an instructor in the summer camp, to his host family.
Albany and its surroundings is such a beautiful place and yet so different from our region - there, everything is green; there are lots of flowing water and no rain scarcity, definitely a different place.
The purpose of my trip was to create new connections and to strengthen the existing bonds in Partnership 2000 - Eshkol - Northeast New York.
During my visit I met three school principals from NENY. Renee Silber, principal of the Bet Shraga Hebrew Academy of the Capital District, a private school, Lee Brice, principal of the Hebrew school Congregation Gates of Heaven and Gloriann Levy, principal of the Hebrew school Congregation Ohav Shalom.
I was happy to realize that the principals are very interested in the creation of bonds, both among professionals and among the pupils. Together we brought up some wonderful ideas for joint projects for the coming year.
In addition, I met Rod Margolis, the Director of the United Jewish Federation of NENY, Louis Jack Pozner, chairman of the Steering Committee in NENY, Rona Pozner, Federation president, and other members of the Steering Committee. Together we discussed how to position and enlarge the Partnership and how to bring up awareness regarding Eshkol.
During the following days, together with Marci, we traveled to visit the "madrichim" (instructors) from Eshkol who participated in the summer camps.
Mor Ben-Ishay from Kibbutz Re'im and Raz Izrael from Kerem Shalom instructed together in Camp Givah . Nicolas Worvoff from Kibbutz Chulit instructed in the Albany Jewish Community Center camp. Lior Kohn from Kibbutz Chulit and Matan Efrati from Kibbutz Sufa instructed together in the Schenectady Jewish Community Center camp. It was a great joy to know all of them represented us in a very respected way.
The "madrichim" looked very happy and told me about their work at the summer camps. For them, every day was a new and interesting experience in a culture different from theirs.
I met Aviva Snyder, director of the University at Albany Hillel, just before she gives birth. Aviva is in charge of the "Taglit" project in Albany.
Taglit is a project that brings Jewish students for a general visit in Israel and particularly in the Partnership area. This year, the visit in Eshkol was short due to the security situation. But there is a plan for next year's visit already, which I built together with Aviva. The program includes joint activities and assistance to the community of Eshkol, for example: painting buildings and helping the elderly of Neve Eshkol.
Last, I met the Federation team. During our meeting, I made a presentation accompanied by pictures of the Partnership and of Eshkol.
This visit contributed to gain a better understanding of the partner community, of the challenges the community deals with and also helped me realize that we have a great deal in common.
Now, back in Israel I have plenty of aspirations and am very keen on continuing to work for a broader Partnership and to deepen the existing bonds between us and NENY.
I wish to thank Marci Galinkin for her wonderful and warm hospitality.