Israel Bonds Mission Reflections
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A select and diverse group of Cleveland leaders are spending a week in Israel though the Israel Bonds and Jewish Federation of Cleveland Leadership Mission to Israel. The trip offers a unique opportunity to visit the major sites of Israel, meet with political, business, and cultural leaders of the land, and make strong connections with one another. We invite you to read a reflection by participant, Mitchell Balk of The Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation.
by Mitchell Balk, President
The Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation
Two highlights of the mission thus far have focused on Israel's multiculturalism. We visited the PACT (Parents and Children Together) program in Yavne that supports integration of young Ethiopian Jewish families into Israel's modern, high tech society. The evidence-based intervention, supported and designed in large part by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, provides intensive augmentation of early childhood and school-age services so that each child arrives at school ready to learn and succeed.
Cleveland Leadership Mission participants were greeted at the PACT preschool by a parade of children singing Heveinu Shalom Aleichem and waving Israeli flags. PACT program parents cooked traditional foods for us, and the Mayor of Yavne thanked us for Cleveland's role in bettering the lives of israel's youngest, most vulnerable families.
Upon arriving in Holy Jerusalem, the Cleveland Mission had the honor of meeting Mayor Nir Barkat who discussed the unique challenges of leading a multicultural city with sites holy to the world's three great monotheistic religions. As we sat in Jerusalem City Council Chambers, Mayor Barkat shared with us his hopes and dreams for the future of the eternal home of the Jewish people. A successful high tech entrepreneur, Barkat works for one shekel a year, similar to New York's former mayor, Michael Blumberg.
Overall, the trip has been a one of a kind tutorial into the history of both modern and ancient Israel and how Jewish Cleveland is strengthening the social fabric of the Jewish State.