By Diane Sloyer, Executive Director
For those of you who remember the old days of UJA, you may remember Partnership 2000 which is now Partnership 2Gether – a relationship partnership between Federations and communities in Israel. In May of this year our Federation Board unanimously approved the recommendation to join the SNEC (Southern New England Consortium) of Partnership 2Gether, which is “twinned” with the area of Afula/Gilboa in Israel. On July 1 we officially joined New Bedford, Western CT, Eastern CT, Central MA, Western, MA New Haven, Greenwich, Stamford, Upper Fairfield County and Hartford as part of SNEC.
The partnership with Israel’s Afula/Gilboa region has been in existence since 1994 and is operated by a volunteer steering committee chaired by Yvonne Benn, a volunteer from the Gilboa Regional Council. Yvonne’s counterpart in the U.S. is Michael Russell, a lay leader from New Bedford, MA. The Israel steering committee is composed of 14 volunteer members from Afula and the Gilboa Regional Council. On the SNEC side, each community is represented by both a professional and lay leader and Carol Blau will serve as Rockland’s lay representative.
Vision, Mission and Purpose are at the core of each partnership. The vision is a united Jewish people made up of interconnected individuals, families and communities, enriching Jewish continuity and identity. The mission is to develop and strengthen Jewish communities in Israel by creating revitalized, ongoing and meaningful engagement between members of these communities. The purpose is to be the central platform for the promotion, empowerment and development of cohesion among Jewish communities.
While the specific projects that SNEC will support are still being finalized for the coming year, they will build on current SNEC programs in Afula/Gilboa, which include:
• Youth Impact Programs
• Women For Women. Now in its ninth year, the Women for Women Center includes a rape crisis program and empowerment workshops for women.
• Tarbut (Cultural) Movement. This has been operating for seven years with the vision of empowering people in the poorer neighborhoods of Afula, through arts and culture.
• Animal-Assisted Therapy at Beit Singer Youth Village. Beit Singer is a home for underprivileged children between the ages of 5-18 who and have suffered various forms of abuse.
• Cultural Exchange with the “Dream Doctor” medical team from Emek Medical Center, and more to come as details are finalized!
Rockland Federation is excited and proud to have joined this partnership and we look forward to sharing more exciting news as it becomes available.