A basketball delegation of the Karmiel - Misgav - Pittsburgh P2Gether Partnership sponsored by the Jewish Agency for Israel returned home on Sunday December 12, 2012 after a ten day journey to Pittsburgh.
The delegation was comprised of players from the Migav National League Teen Team composed of students studying in the 11th and 12th grades, four of the players are residents of Karmiel, while the remaining eight are all Misgav residents. The delegation was accompanied by Sagi Retner (Head of the Basketball Division of the Karmiel Community Center), Assaf Marko (Head of the Basketball Division of the Misgav Community Center) and Guy Cohen, the team's coach. Aside from the team's practice sessions and games against the local JCC team (all of which were won by the Israeli team), the delegation participated in a number of basketball related activities. They had the opportunity to see two college games at Pitt and Duquesne in sports centers that Israeli teams from the country's premier league could on dream about. After the Pitt game the Israeli team received a guided "behind the scenes" tour of the Peterson Events Center at the University of Pittsburgh, where they had the unique and rare opportunity to visit the Panther's training facilities and dressing rooms as well as meet with a number of the team's players. Local Pittsburghers explained to the Israeli team the uniqueness of this gesture by the Panther's technical manager, since few of them have ever had such an opportunity.Additionally, the young people had a wonderful and exciting chance to contribute to the local Jewish Community. This included a visit to a Senior Citizens Center where they helped conduct the weekly bingo game and distribute meals to the elderly residents, helped out with preparations for the weekly Friday Night Dinner that the Hillel, Jewish University Center, packaged food packages for the needy at a local distribution center, and participated in Friday services at a local Reform congregation, etc.
The goal of this particular delegation was to develop a strong relationship between the Israeli youth and young people and adults from within the Pittsburgh Jewish Community, a goal that was successfully achieved and in a big way! Between the players a tight bond developed that was enhanced by the wonderful relations they developed with their host families. The professional staff also connected with their American counterparts in a fantastic way. Together they have developed a number of ideas for future projects such as a visit by the American coaches to the Karmiel - Misgav region to conduct a professional basketball training workshop in the region and a reciprocal visit by the American team for a basketball camp together with their new Israeli friends.
"From the moment we landed in Pittsburgh". Assaf Marco, the head of the Israeli delegation recounted, "we felt the tremendous preparations made by our friends in Pittsburgh, and particularly the JCC staff that made sure we had whatever we needed, and even more, causing us to feel wanted whereever we visited and the wonderfully warm sensation of feeling at home among friends. From a personal standpoint this was a very powerful experience, each day I felt a tremendous, almost infinite amount of love in the Pittsburgh Jewish Community, I connected with tons of great people and made new friends, who I am confident will remain with me for a lifetime".
more Pictures at Facebook
Article at the Jewish Chronicle- Number 1 & Number 2