Four Israeli Educators visited Richmond Dec. 11-14 as part of the Partnership 2Gether Educators exchange with our sister community Hadera-Erion, Israel. Previously the educators spent time in Chattanooga, Tenn., one of the other American partnership communities.
Oshrit Tanami, one of the Israeli educators, shared some thoughts. “I came thinking there was a lack of unity, oness in the Jewish community in America. I couldn’t have been more wrong.”
Each educator spent time with host educators in schools within the community – public and private – as well as spending time in the area religious Sunday schools. Many thanks to the teachers and administrators at Henrico High School, Douglas Freeman High School, Rudlin Torah Academy, Weinstein JCC Preschool, Congregation Or Ami, Congregation Or Atid and Congregation Beth Ahabah. The group also participated in many of the communities’ Hanukkah events including the final night at the Weinstein JCC. During their stay, they were home-hosted by community members.
Nancy Nelson, an educator at Henrico High and Congregation Or Ami, who was one of this year’s hosts and a participant on last year’s exchange to Israel, said, “The past days were so amazing. Spending time with my Israeli colleagues and friends made the physical distance between us diminish to nothing. Learning, sharing, and laughing with them created memories I’ll never forget. And, I can’t wait to see them again!”
Amit Shacham was paired with Nelson, and said, “Nancy went out of her way to be with us all the time. It made the experience even more powerful. We shared lesson plans and grew close as friends. By being here we learned the value and exceptional importance of the American Jewish Community.”
Many of the religious schools participated in the annual Jewish peoplehood program. This year’s theme is “We Came to Drive Away the Darkness”: Between Darkness and Light. This was the 9th anniversary of the peoplehood program.
Other Richmond community educators who took part in the visit are: Hana Hecht at Freeman High School; Rabbi Yosef Bart and Devorah Arnowitz at Rudlin Torah Academy; Donna Peters and Dawn Kowal at the Weinstein JCC Preschool; Ramona Brand at Beth Ahabah; and Rabbi Royi Shaffin at Or Atid.
Next December, Richmond educators will have the opportunity to travel to Israel for the reverse exchange. If you are a community educator (in public, private or religious school setting) you are eligible to participate.
Contact Sara Rosenbaum, JCFR director of operations at 804-545-8629 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.