Courtesy of Jewish Federation Update March 27, 2009
Several Orlando members of the Federation's Partnership 2000 Program (P2K) recently returned from Israel, where they spent two days in meetings discussing plans and projects for the future. During their visit they were guests of host families and recipients of warm hospitality which characterizes our relationship with the residents of Kiryat Motzkin.
Ava Maxwell, one of the committee members from Orlando, described some of her thoughts in a letter she wrote to the Federation Board Members, reprinted (in part) with her permission below:
Good morning all, or should I say Boker Tov!
I just returned from a 10 day trip to Israel (2 of those days in Kiryat Motzkin), and I wanted to share a few thoughts with all of you.
This was not my first trip to Israel, nor was it even my second, third, or fourth- but it was a trip that opened my eyes to the magnificence of this country, which I am sad to say that for a short period, I allowed myself to minimize. During the past few years, I found myself seeing Israel differently; and truly forgot how proud of her I am! From the moment I stepped into Ben Gurion Airport, rather than on the ground to be "bussed" in, it was apparent that Israel is a state, a country that continues to have a vision for itself, its people, and for us!
I am a member of the steering committee for the Partnership Program, and although I have attended the majority of the meetings, I had felt somewhat disconnected to all of the projects since I had no personal point of reference other than seeing this partnership through the eyes of our involved youth and volunteer leaders. Don't misunderstand - seeing this partnership through them, attracted me to it! This visit just helped secure my involvement.
It was such a pleasure meeting the members of Kiryat Motzkin's steering committee. After my short visit, I had a "feel" for the community, which was vital for me to understand and acknowledge the value placed on many of our partnership projects. For me, personally, it was a very important meeting. Our counterparts in KM are so eager to share their city with us. Their hospitality was overflowing. ( In the near future, we will have the opportunity to do the same, during their visit to Orlando.) During our meetings in KM, one thing that was very apparent - Michal Osteen, David Brent, and Andy Trattner have represented us well. They are loved and more importantly, respected by the KM team! For me, it was a wonderful weave of personalities, strengths, and values; all being directed toward the same goals.
But, here is the validation: When I returned to my sister's in Kfar Saba, many of my sister's friends came for Shabbat dinner, and were extremely interested in hearing about the partnership, and were very impressed with the "detailed presentation" of materials, variety and depth of programs. Seeing their interest and admiration for our efforts was heartwarming. Throughout the evening, they continued to express their thanks for our commitment to Israel. These are people that don't live in Kiryat Motzkin, yet were appreciative of what we are doing, and to the extent that we are doing it! I felt (and still do) very proud to be involved with this.
As one of the "newcomers" to the committee, I applaud all of you for keeping this program a priority. You've done a remarkable job, a mitzvah!
Shabbat Shalom to all of you.
With warm regards,