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Milwaukee • St. Paul • Tulsa • Sovev Kinneret: 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 Sovev Kinneret and in Milwaukee, St. Paul and Tulsa.

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  Initial meeting of our North American communities.

1995  Our first joint visit to the Sovev Kinneret region and first steering committee meeting. The decision: to emphasize regional development through tourism and business, and living bridge projects.

1996  Launch of innovative Kinneret Community Tourism Project to drastically alter the perception of tourism in the area and promote regional collaboration.

1997  Our partnership’s goals are redefined to focus on living bridge projects. • First long-distance learning project is launched. • The first youth mission from Milwaukee visits the region.

1998  Israeli delegations visit our communities for the first time: a youth delegation, a physicians’ exchange, a Women’s Forum and a Young Leadership delegation.

1999  Launch of the ENGLIYADA program in Tiberias to help teach English to new immigrants and veteran Israelis. • The first Educators’ Mifgash (encounter) takes place. • Initiation of scholarships for students at Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee.

2000  The region incorporates the Kefiyada summer camp program, with volunteers from our communities serving as camp counselors. • Artists’ Exchange program brings artists from Sovev Kinneret to our communities. • Students from Kinneret College connect with our cities’ birthright israel participants.

2001  The Artists’ Exchange is reciprocated in the region—the artworks donated to Poriah Hospital. • Our communities unite through the Israel Emergency Campaign to support the region’s security.

2002  Educators from the region visit peers in our three cities, with a joint event in Tulsa. • The first Young Emissaries from Israel begin a year of community service in Milwaukee.

2003  Visitors from Sovev Kinneret assist with Super Sunday activities in the U.S.

2004  First Artists in Residence Program in St. Paul, Tulsa and Milwaukee. • Teens from Milwaukee participate in “Adventure in Israel” program. • Young leaders from the region visit the communities and attend the National Young Leadership Project in Washington D.C.

2005  Teens from the region participate with their American peers in the Maccabi Games in St. Paul. • Artists from Israel join day camp staffs in our communities. • 80% of our projects are “living bridge” projects. • Over 2,500 students connect through the Education Bridge on a daily basis. • Many missions from the communities visit the region, meeting their Israeli partners and volunteering.

2006  The first young shlicha from Sovev Kinneret begins her year in St. Paul. • Young adults from the region are part of local camp staffs. • Milwaukee welcomes its fifth pair of Shin Shiniyot.

A Decade of Connection

Our partnership got underway during a November 1994 meeting where we decided to embark on this exciting road together with Sovev Kinneret (“around the Sea of Galilee”).

The Sovev Kinneret Region encompasses the city of Tiberias, the Jordan Valley Regional Council and the Lower Galilee Regional Council. Spanning an area of about 400 square miles, it is home to a highly diverse population of 70,000 residents. Sovev Kinneret’s greatest advantage is its location, which includes some of Israel’s most attractive terrain and is an area central to four major world religions. Yet despite so many positives, it has been very difficult to attract new residents and employment to offset the exodus of young people from the area.

A Decade of Mutual Impact

Our initial vision for the partnership was to develop the region through tourism and business development.

We invested in the cultural growth and empowerment of the region, building public facilities to improve the residents’ quality of life. Our partnership became the impetus to spark new regional cohesiveness. But we soon discovered that the real power in our partnership was in the peopleto-people dimension, and our goals were redefined to focus on living bridge projects.

During the last decade, hundreds from our communities have visited the Sovev Kinneret region, and today, eighty percent of our projects are “living bridge” projects.

Our programs create a people-topeople platform for personal relationships between children, youth and adults. Over 2,500 students connect daily through our Education Bridge project. Through the ENGLIYADA program, our volunteers regularly help teach English to new residents in Tiberias, and through Kefiyada, have worked as counselors in summer camps. We are impacting the lives of those in the region, just as young volunteer Israeli emissaries enrich our communities.

We have built living bridges between Milwaukee, St. Paul, Tulsa and Sovev Kinneret through scores of reciprocal visits of teenagers, young emissaries, young leaders, teachers, principals, doctors, families, students and volunteers—strengthening both of our communities. Hundreds of Americans from our communities have visited the region and made long-lasting connections.

“Partnership 2000 to me is about a common destiny. It is about developing common goals, initiating and accomplishing these goals together. It is about learning about each other, about connecting, about friendship. Most importantly, Partnership 2000 is about being a part of a big family; the geographical distance only strengthens the meaning of the partnership. I believe that volunteering in this project gives great meaning to being a part of the Jewish world—here and in the Diaspora.”  Shay Shoshani, volunteer in the Sovev Kinneret Region

“The ultimate power of P2K is its ability to connect Americans and Israelis as people. We can do it in many ways, but best is face to face, connecting over any topic, age group or profession that we choose. In the long term, American Jews will build a stronger tie to Israel if they have strong ties to Israelis, and vice versa. P2K enables this tie to happen over and over again.”  Jane Gellman, Cluster 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 Sovev Kinneret region are uniting our youth, fostering professional exchanges and promoting regional cooperation. Creating places where families want to live and work. We’re helping develop Israel’s future leaders and involved citizens.

At the same time, we are innovating to connect our next generation to Israel in new ways; creating enduring connections that will shape the future of Milwaukee, St. Paul and Tulsa. 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.

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