A Look at I & O: Israel Programming Partnership 2Gether

One of the major components of the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond’s Israel programming is the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Partnership2Gether sister-city program. The P2G program has multiple facets – each fostering people-to-people relationships building. The Federation is proud to participate in this endeavor. 

In recent years, we have participated in the Tikkun Olam Teen Exchange Program, Educators Delegation, Psalms Through the Arts Program, School Twinning Program, and Leadership2Gether. Each has been a huge success having received many positive comments and active participation. 

The Tikkun Olam program sends Richmond teens to Israel on a two-week program. While in Israel, the American teens are hosted by Israeli teens and their families in our sister-city, Hadera-Eiron (about 45 minutes north of Tel Aviv). They visit major Israeli sites and engage with local teens on a variety of Tikun Olam programming, explore the meaning of justice and how we make it a central tenant of our society and world, which we strive to repair. About a month later, the Israeli teens who hosted our American teens travel to Richmond. 

Hosted by local families, they join our teens in exploring the greater Richmond area and the meaning of Tikkun Olam in the diaspora. The teens volunteer in local agencies and Camp Sababa, and engage with both Jewish and non-Jewish gemilut chasadim (acts of loving-kindness) programs. Our newest Richmond participant, Jacob Zedd, 16, and a student at Yeshiva of Virginia, just returned from a fantastic trip. He and his family, along with several other families, will host Israelis in August. Last summer, two local teens, Anna-Fleur Farnsworth and Riley Wilkinson took part.

The Educators’ Delegation sends local educators to Israel every other year. On alternate years, Israeli educators visit Richmond. Last year, four Israeli educators visited Richmond. They shared resources with local teaches and visited Rudlin Torah Academy, various Sunday Schools, Henrico High School and Douglas Freeman High School. Next December, the JCFR will send a Richmond educator to Israel. Educator Delegation participants help teachers develop professionally and establish classroom twinning programs. Through these twinning programs, students from Israel and the US interact and build relationships with peers from around the world. Applications for the December 2016 Educators Delegation are now open and are due no later than August 15. See www.jewishrichmond.org/i-o for information or to apply. 

For many years, Israel programming was ‘giving-centric.’ The focus of programming was to help less fortunate Israelis. While many Israelis are still in need and a significant portion of the funds the JCFR sends to Israel are still dedicated to helping those Israelis, our Israel programming has broadened to focus on building relationships. 

Riley Wilkinson related that when she hears about news from Israel, she doesn’t turn to news sources for more information. Rather, she immediately sends messages to her friends in Israel. She ‘plugs-in’ in real time. 

Person-to-person Israel programming develops long-term, Israel centered relationships. Another phenomenal year of Israel programming is underway. 

If you’re interested in participating in our Israel programming, contact Daniel “Doni” Fogel, director of Israel and Overseas Programming at dfogel@jewishrichmond.org.  


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