Last week, Partnership2Gether Beit Shemesh – Mateh Yehuda – Washington – South Africa of the Jewish Agency brought together members of 2 reform congregations.
Gail Diamond from Tzur Hadassah reform congregation describes the encounter:
"The group from Beth El Hebrew Congregation in Alexandria, VA, included eleven youth, two couples and the rabbi, Brett Isserow.
Members of Kehillat Tzur Hadassah cooked and brought food and came to set up. From Kehillat Tzur Hadassah were adults , our rabbi Ofer Shabbat Beit Halachmi, some teens from the family heirlooms project (Yuval Paz, Nomi Hovav, Nimrod Gehrlenter, Yael Yosefi and Yonatan Oreg) and kids. There were close to the same number of Israelis and Americans.
Rabbi Ofer started the evening explaining a little bit about the community and congregation, with the help of Deb Housen-Couriel from the congregation. We then split into two groups to get to know each other. After these groups had some time to talk, we had dinner and continued the conversation. After dinner, we had shirah betzibur led by Dvir Or. That was followed by dessert for which I challenged everyone to continue the conversation and meet people they had not met. At this point, everyone started talking together (especially the teens) and it got very lively.
Everyone greatly enjoyed the evening. Many thanks to Partnership2Gether for organizing and supporting the event. Thanks also go to the many congregants who cooked and brought food, to Sagit Peled for shopping and organizing, Cary Jacoby for set up, Rabbi Ofer, Dvir Or and Deb Housen Couriel for their help with the program, and special thanks to Shira Saponar for staying to the bitter end and cleaning up.
My biggest nachas was when one of the boys who has been part of the Family Heirlooms group came to me at the end to ask when more mifgashim will be taking place!" It was great to see how the young people loosened up and enjoyed talking with one another by the end of the evening. They are a wonderful group of young people and their interest in Judaism and Israel was evident. I hope that this is the beginning of a connection between our two communities and that we will be able to work together on projects in future. Kehillat Tzur Hadassah depends on the support of overseas friends for our activities. I hope that Beth El Alexandria will become one of our overseas partners and that we can build on the success of this evening for the future.
I want to thank the Alexandria congregation for their contribution to the wonderful evening, and to thank Partnership 2Gether for sponsoring the event.