The COVID-19 Pandemic has affected virtually every walk of life, and P2G is no different. In a normal summer, teens from Charleston would travel to Israel with other people their age to participate in a true Israeli experience with home hospitality, volunteering, and community building. Later this year, Charleston area teachers would host their Israeli counterparts here in the states and learn best practices from each other while bonding and creating lifelong friendships. Young adults in their 20s and 30s would connect with a cheruvatta partner for months to have meaningful discussions on the Israeli/ Diaspora relationship. While we definitely miss all of these programs and look forward to the future when we can join together again our Partnership 2Gether Hadera-Eiron South Eastern Consortium has found the silver lining and has used the opportunity to do what they do best: bring people together.
In the spring, we hosted many meaningful events to celebrate Passover, Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikaron, Yom Ha'atzmaut. There were cooking classes, teaching seminars and tours of Jerusalem. As the summer approached, we decided to focus on our younger community members.
Two unique opportunities were offered to teens:
- Virtual Summer Experience and Advocacy Seminar-Facilitated by StandWithUs, teens worked together to explore Israel's image in the world today. They learned about public diplomacy and the complexities of Israel society. Through this program they acquired the ability to deal with difficult questions about Israel and anti-Semitism on different media. Israeli and American teens worked together to explore a topic of their choosing and present their findings to community members on Zoom. One Charleston area teen, Becca White, shared, ""This opportunity was the perfect way for me to meet people from across the world and learn a lot. I really enjoyed working with the Israeli teens to make the presentation and comparing Israel to the US. I learned how to effectively communicate and educate those who are anti-Zionist."
- Teen Virtual Summer Experience and Community Philanthropy Challenge- Teens participated in a snapshot encounter with philanthropic involvement in social organizations. They learned about personal & global responsibility by exploring different community organizations. Working together with their Israeli counterparts, teens advocated for an organization they are passionate about to receive funding. Through this program students developed advocacy skills and learned how one decides where and how much to give. One participant shared, "We learned about the fundamentals of philanthropy, how to best use your donations, and other ways to participate in philanthropy outside of monetary donations. The highlight of the workshop was the group project where the teens were put into six groups of 3-4 members and each decided on a nonprofit that they wanted to represent. While hearing everyone’s presentations, I was really proud of my fellow teens for the great work that was done.”
The programming did not stop with the teens though! In addition to these weeklong seminars for teens P2G also offered a virtual experience for Israeli middle school students to practice English with certified American educators over Zoom. 3 Charleston area teachers participated in this program, meeting twice a week for one month. What came out of this program were lasting bonds between the teachers, the students, and their families. Charleston area retired teacher, Lisa Isaacson, shared, "It was a great cultural experience. you learn just as much as they do. If I go back to Israel again, I will definitely look them up!" If you are a teacher and interested in participating in this program in the future, please contact Erin Boynton.
Established by the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) in 1995, the Partnership2Gether (P2G) peoplehood platform has become the paradigm for successfully partnering global Jewish communities directly with Israeli communities. Communities share ideas, strengths, challenges, and models of success as well as empower one another to generate waves of change. If you are interested in participating in future programs, please contact Erin Boynton (firstname.lastname@example.org)