Today is December 16, 2019 -

Living-room coffee

Yossi Klein Halevi told my colleagues and me during our visit to the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem that Israeli Jews and American Jews do not understand each other.  We are not speaking the same language.  We are not grasping each other’s issues or concerns.  He was looking to Federation executive directors for help.

I believe that Partnership Together (p2g) is our solution.  With our friends in Eshkol, we have been enjoying trips back and forth every year for the last several years.  We have hosted scores of Israelis in our community and they have hosted hundreds of us.  Last week, they hosted 23 teens for a week and a dozen adults for an overnight visit.  Their warmth and hospitality was wonderful. 

For most American Jews, we learn about what Israeli Jews think as it is filtered through the media.  For many fortunate enough to travel to Israel, the information is filtered through hotel staff and tour guides.  Those of us with family, however, see a much different and perhaps more authentic view.  Through p2g, we have the opportunity to sit in someone’s living room, drink coffee, and share unfiltered ideas.  Moreover, once we form the relationships, except for some logistical challenges with time zones, continued communication is free and effortless, so relationships carry on.  Of course, no two Israelis share all of the same views, as no two Americans share the same views, but the open dialogue to catch the true flavor of facts on the ground is unparalleled. 

Next month will be our next opportunity to welcome our friends from Eshkol, as 12 eighth graders and their chaperones come for a visit.  We are looking forward. 

Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York

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