The Yoav–Lehigh Valley Partnership connects the Jewish community in Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania with the residents of the Yoav Region. We view these ties as an essential component in strengthening our communities, both in Israel and in the Diaspora, and making them flourish. We are members of a worldwide network of 45 partnerships, whose goal is to serve as a major infrastructure for bringing together the communities of the Jewish people.
The Partnership arranges face-to-face encounters with members of the Jewish community in Lehigh Valley and with their way of life. It encourages members of our communities to investigate their ties to the Jewish People and to Israel and to deepen them. And it serves as a laboratory for the development of ideas and initiatives in education, Jewish identity and community.
Lehigh Valley is located in the southeast part of Pennsylvania, about one hour’s drive from Philadelphia and 90 minutes from New York. The Jewish population of Lehigh Valley is about 8000, out of a total population of 500,000. The main cities in Lehigh Value are Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton. The community has eight synagogues, which represent all the denominations – Orthodox, Conservative and Reform, a JCC, three Hillel Houses on the college campuses and a Jewish Federation that serves as the umbrella organization of the community.
The Yoav region was founded in 1952. It has 14 settlements – primarily kibbutzim and moshavs – with a population of about 7000. Its boundaries are the Reim Junction in the North, Kiryat Gat in the South, Beit Gubrin in the East and the Givati Junction in the west.
The Partnership sends a youth delegation each year to participate in Lehigh Valley’s summer camp. It hosts delegations and visitors from the Lehigh Valley community and supports a number of projects in the Yoav settlements. The projects are to do with Jewish renewal, leadership development and empowerment of the community. The Partnership is led by a Steering Committee of volunteers from the settlements in Yoav and volunteers from Lehigh Valley.