Reuniting with our Israeli “family”

Partnership 2Gether Joint Steering Committee meetings.

Next week, the Jewish Federation of Ottawa is proudly playing host to a special convention of Israeli and Canadian partners in meetings that represent “one of the best ways that we bring to life our connection to Israel,” said Sarah Beutel, Federation VP of Community Building.

Terry Fox run in the Galilee Panhandle

Partnership 2Gether (originally "Partnership 2000") was launched internationally in 1995. The Partnership is based on a shared belief in Am Echad (one people), and pairs six Canadian communities with five Galilee Panhandle (Etzbah HaGalil) development towns and councils.

The Coast-to-Coast Partnership 2Gether Joint Steering Committee (JSC) meetings are held twice a year: in Israel in the fall, and in a Canadian city in the spring. This year’s meeting will be attended by 10 Israelis from Canada's partner region, including the mayor of Yesod Hama’ala, and 16 Federation CEOs and partnership lay leaders from across Canada. This represents a chance for all the partners to reconnect and assess how Federation support is helping Israel thrive. It also reinforces the personal connection and brings it to life. The Ottawa Jewish community is not just a source of funding support, but there are real people on each side working to better the lives of Israelis and strengthen the bond with Canada. 

“I’m so proud that Ottawa is hosting the first in-person Canadian-based JSC meeting since the spring of 2019. We’ll explore new opportunities, deepen our friendships and our partnership, and have meaningful discussions about issues facing Jews in Canada and Israel,” said Ottawa leader Barbara Crook, the Canadian Chair for Partnership 2Gether.

“Having said that, it was wonderful to resume face-to-face meetings in the Upper Galilee last November. Our ‘family’ was reunited, we were able to tour the projects our Partnership has supported and saw exciting new opportunities for us to work with our Israeli partners.”

The Partnership maintains 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 of its residents. The Federation funds projects to create a Living Bridge (Gesher Chai) between Ottawa and Israel and some of the projects include educational services, youth services, social service, STEAM programs, adult education, after school youth programs, and leadership programs.

In addition, every two years there is an Educators Conference in Israel. This July, two educators from Ottawa will travel to Israel for the Partnership 2Gether Educators Conference. A representative from the Ottawa Jewish Community School and a teacher from Temple Israel Religious School will travel to Israel to learn more about creating a stronger Gesher Chai, a living bridge between our city and the Galilee Panhandle. Throughout the year, there are partnership programs between Israeli and Ottawa students at these two schools and this is a chance to learn more about each other and bring a renewed energy back to our community.