How do we make peoplehood tangible in our 21st century world? We’re doing it. The impressive achievements of the first ten years of our partnership demonstrate our collective force when we partner in common purpose.
Since 1996, when leaders from our community stepped forward to become part of the Jewish Agency’s Partnership 2000 (P2K), our commitment and involvement have become a powerful catalyst for change in Canada and the Galilee Panhandle.
Today, we are one of 550 global communities in 44 partnerships with Israel. Sharing ideas, strengths, challenges and models of success, our P2K partnerships have become the paradigm for successfully partnering the Jewish world.
What Will You Make of It?
1996 First meeting of local mayors, Jewish Agency officials and representatives from Canada at the offices of the Upper Galilee Regional Council. We establish the platform for our partnership, setting an agenda and finding ways to cooperate and work together.
1997 Regional development gets underway, focused on launching “The Galilee Panhandle.” We emphasize Kiryat Shemona as the region’s capital; the technological center; academia (Tel Hai College, arts); clean transportation; the wide variety of healthcare services and activities; and tourism, encompassing food and lodging.
1998 Educational and Living Bridge programs are developed for both partners.
1999 We develop a uniform agenda that focuses on inter-school exchange programs between Canada and the region.
2000 Introduction of projects supporting young and youth leadership; post-army leadership; encounters between youth; and continuation of regional development: economics, the arts, cultural and educational.
2001 We craft a vision for the future that revolves around developing living bridge programs: educators’ and youth exchanges.
2002 An international educators’ and principals’ conference is held in Winnipeg. • The steering committee evaluates the future direction of P2K activities.
2003 Further development and reinforcement of Living Bridge programs. • Coalitions are formed with other funders to strengthen education in the region and pool resources for everyone’s benefit.
2004 BeYachad educational initiative commences, a collaborative effort with the Israel Venture Network and Sacta-Rashi Foundation designed to improve educational standards in the region.
2005 Launch of priority projects initiative to raise $1 million over four years for projects in the Galilee Panhandle.
A Decade of Connection
Ten years ago, Galilee Panhandle communities joined together with Coast-to-Coast Canada in a remarkable partnership.
The Galilee Panhandle is one of Israel’s most beautiful regions. Currently 43,000 people live in the region in small urban communities, villages and kibbutzim. At the formation of the partnership, the region envisioned employment opportunities underpinned by organic or tourism-oriented agriculture; technological development; and entrepreneurial support to businesses. But far from Israel’s center, the region faces extraordinary challenges in developing the economic resources to support its residents.
A Decade of Mutual Impact
Our visionary partnership initially provided support for social projects, welfare, economic development and education.
Some of our first social projects were the Hafuch al Hafuch and Elem programs to provide support for area youth—especially youngsters in crisis. We have impacted economic development through our involvement in Mati. In recent years, we have focused on educational projects—Living Bridge, which connects our schools in Canada and the region, and BeYachad, a major educational initiative in partnership with the Israel Venture Network and the Sacta-Rashi Foundation. In addition, with our support, Tel Hai Regional College has become a major educational center, to the benefit of the entire region.
Equal educational opportunity for all residents is a prerequisite to develop the region’s social capital and to attract newcomers.
Our original ten Living Bridge schools now number 28 and span the spectrum: elementary, junior high and high schools; secular and religious; urban and rural. Beyond connecting Canadian and Israeli schools, the program also unites our region’s schools. Our educators share and coordinate joint curricula both online and in teachers’ missions to the region. Multiple youth and school delegations each year enable our students to have an Israel experience together with their peers, including home hospitality, tours and volunteer activities.
We have built living bridges between Canada and the Galilee Panhandle through scores of reciprocal visits of teachers, principals, doctors, families, students and volunteers— strengthening both of our communities.
“Our 9th and 10th grade classes have forged close ties with Edmonton and Ottawa. There have been reciprocal visits between our 9th grade students and their Canadian peers. The outcome and benefits were simply amazing, especially in terms of learning about the Jewish community abroad, its importance, problems and more.” Orli Zaguri, principal of Emek Hahula School
“By fostering mutual understanding and promoting shared values, our programs provide the foundation for meaningful relationships and a bright future for the next generation.” Professor Richard Schreiber, National Chair of the Partnership 2000 Steering Committee, Coast-to-Coast Canada
Together, taking our partnership to the next level
What an extraordinary impact we’ve had so far. And it’s really just the beginning. Our efforts in the Galilee Panhandle are improving education, advancing tourism, promoting regional cooperation and creating places where families want to live and work. We’re helping to develop Israel’s future leaders and involved citizens.
At the same time, we are innovating to connect our next generation to Israel in new ways; creating enduring bonds that will shape the future of Jewish communities across Canada. A decade ago, our communities boldly grasped this opportunity to make a dramatic difference as one people. Now we’re ready to take this partnership to the next level.