As chair of the Partnership 2Gether (P2G) Committee, I have had the pleasure and honour to see many important initiatives come to fruition and have seen ﬁrst-hand the progress that is being made in several of our Canadian-funded projects located in northern Israel in the Etzbah Hagalil.
P2G is a program that unites smaller Jewish communities from across Canada with communities in the northern part of Israel known as the Galilee Panhandle. P2G has a two-fold mandate: to strengthen the relationship between Jewish communities in Canada and Israel; and to develop the Galilee Panhandle and improve the living standards for its residents. In particular, P2G has identiﬁ ed the development of high quality educational opportunities for children and youth as the region’s highest priority.
One such educational project is the new medical school in Safed. We visited the school while in Israel for the P2G annual meeting last month. There we met a renowned biologist who grew up in the north of Israel. He attended the Hanadiv school in Metulla, which partners with the Ottawa Jewish Community School (OJCS), completed his undergraduate degree at Tel Hai college, also in the north, and then completed graduate degrees at Cornell University in the United States. He was recently recruited to teach at the medical school. This biologist returned to the north because of programs like P2G, which have helped the medical school attract world-class physicians and scientists. The quality and scope of the school’s new lab facilities will enable him to conduct exciting research into understanding the role of bacteria in health and wellness.
During our recent visit to Israel, Barbara Crook, the incoming chair of the P2G Committee, my husband Michael Walsh and I were warmly welcomed at the Hanadiv School as students and teachers shared an overview of special programs and performed songs. This visit was particularly sweet for Barbara and Michael as they had participated in a community mission to Israel in August 2006 after the Second Lebanon War ended. During that visit, they helped to clean up damage caused by rockets.
The P2G Committee is also involved in a number of exciting activities in Ottawa, including the partnership between the Hanadiv School and OJCS. Grade 5 and 6 students from the Hanadiv School visited here last May in a mifgash (meeting) and were hosted by Ottawa families. This year, the students will communicate electronically in a special project about Jewish Canadian and Israeli authors and poets aimed at teaching the students more about each other’s culture and language.
Another big upcoming project is the Social Action Mission to Israel from December 26 to January 5. P2G is sending a group of young Ottawa adults to our partner region where they will be home-hosted by Israeli young adults. Together they will visit P2G initiatives and undertake a social action project at a youth club house in Metulla. It is a neglected building that used to be a kindergarten, and the plan is
for them to create a small garden, do renovations such as painting, and organize the clubhouse so that it can be enjoyed by youth. Our Ottawa is providing the funding for the supplies, and will work along Israelis to do the work.
To learn about P2G programs, or to get involved, please contact Sarah Beutel at firstname.lastname@example.org.