This isn't the beginning of a joke – this is what happened yesterday (Tuesday, March 27th)in Beit Shean. The interfaith delegation, composed of two Jewish Rabbis – Rabbi Richard A. Block, and Rabbi Robert Nosanscuk - and two Reverends - Rev. Dr. Stephen Rowan and Rev. Jawanza Colvin from Cleveland, and accompanied by Dayan Gross, director of Community Relations Department in the Federation, arrived to Beit Shean for a day. In the morning, they were hosted for a Pesach Seder in the Tomer school of Beit Shean, where they sang Pesach songs together with the kids. The Seder celebration was facilitated by Itzik Rachamim, director of the school, who also gave the visitors some background about the school.
After the Seder, Rabbi Block blessed the kids and emphasized the importance of the connection between communities of the region and communities of Cleveland. The delegation visited a room donated to "Youth Futures" after the name of Rabbi Bram, and then met with Beit SHean Youth Futures director, Chava Glasner, from whom they received an introduction to the program and learned about its importance to the community. They met with Tamar, a mentor in the program, got to know some of the kids, and were very moved to see how exited the kids were about meeting with them. During the visit, Reverend Collins said: "I'm amazed to see the discipline of the kids in the school, I'm exited to be here, and happy to be apart of the connection between this region and Cleveland".
To begin the second part of the day, visitors were taken to an observation point for an overview of the region. They were amazed to learn how close it is to the Jordan border.
Later on, they had a delicious lunch in the house of Bat-Zion Yona, a volunteer in the "Parents Petrol" project and the pioneer of the "Ethnic Cookers" idea – home hospitality for visitors, which gives them an experience of personal encounter together with unique ethnic tastes. During the meal, Partnership director Oshrat Barel gave some background about the Partnership of Beir Shean-Valley of Springs-Cleveland and about the volunteer activities in the region through the Partnership and through Bridge to the Future. "Parents Petrol" project coordinator, Etty Valina'amat, told the visitors about the project and answered their questions.
Members of the delegation had many questions, as they lead organizations and strong congregations in Cleveland. Throughout the meal (which received many compliments)they were invited to come again, together with members of their congregations. Rabbi Noschak promised to come back with his congregation on Independence Day; The Reverends expressed theit interest in coming back in the future with members of their communities; and Rabbi Block concluded by saying it is only when you arrive to Beit Shean that you can begin to understand the meaning of the Partnership between the communities, and that for him Beit Shean is home away from home.