Jewish Cleveland and the State of Israel have a long and storied history together. Through our strong partnerships forged over the years, we help address numerous human services and educational needs – as well as supported its people during times of war.

In 1995, Jewish Cleveland adopted Beit Shean/Valley of Springs as its sister community in Israel. In 2019, Beit Shean/Valley of Springs further deepened its connection to the city by becoming a sister community of the City of Cleveland.

Advancing The Periphery

Partnership2Gether (P2G): Launched in 1995, the partnership focuses on strengthening Jewish peoplehood connecting Clevelanders with Israelis in the region, advancing the STEM Israel program, and supporting Youth Futures.

Bridge to the Future (BTF): aims to improve quality of life – improving the status of jobs, housing, environment, and community – by facilitating the coordination among all public and private agencies operating there, as well as helping residents to assume responsibility for their lives, their community, and their future.

Conversation Partners (Medabrim): connects our Cleveland community with people in Beit Shean and the Valley of Springs who want to practice speaking English in a 1-on-1 conversation format. By improving their English language skills, these Israelis improve their opportunities for further education and career advancement.

Jordan/Cross-Border Initiative (JCBI): promotes cross-cultural understanding and cooperation in the areas of agriculture, education, environment, and economic development.

STEM (Science. Technology. Engineering. Mathematics.) Education initiative: helps to teach students in underserved communities in Israel – such as Beit Shean, Valley of Springs, Hura (a Bedouin town in the South), and an ultra-Orthodox community in Jerusalem – how to be critical thinkers and problem solvers. This, in turn, enables them to be better equipped to succeed and thrive in the “knowledge” economy because of the skills, confidence, and curiosity gained through STEM methodology.

At-Risk Youth

Youth Futures: offers support, guidance, and targeted intervention to disadvantaged Israeli families through the activities of trained, professional Mentors who work full-time with children and their families providing tailored guidance and managing the processes of individual and family empowerment and serve as role models for children, sources of support and advice to parents, and guides for accessing resources in the community.

IDF Education Corps (IDF): helps the IDF’s Education Corps staff and leadership to work with and mentor at-risk youth at two Educations Corps bases: Havat HaShomer and Machve Alon.

Ethiopian Integration

Ethiopian Israeli integration: addresses the greatest barriers to the full and successful integration of Ethiopian Jewish immigrants (“olim”) and their children into Israeli society, including intensive Hebrew studies; computer classes; lectures/assistance in navigating Israeli bureaucracy and systems; trips to connect them with the land, people, history, and culture; Yesodot, a year-long enrichment program for children to help narrow the academic gap between the Ethiopian children and their Israeli peers, and more.

Engaging Young Adults in Israel

International Experiences for Jewish Clevelanders: helps Jewish young adults who want to go to Israel (or elsewhere overseas) and/or explore their Jewish identity. We help young people participate in Israel experiences through Birthright, Onward Israel, and Masa Israel Journey, and in international experiences outside of Israel.

Emissaries in Cleveland: helps to bring Israel to Cleveland through shin-shinim (Israeli students in their gap year between high school and the army), who lead meaningful and significant initiatives for teens including after-school clubs and more. At the same time, we also bring a community Shaliach to further that connection with young adults in Jewish Cleveland.

Jewish Cleveland and Israel Over the Years

Over the years, Jewish Cleveland and Israel have forged a powerful connection. This connection resulted in numerous break-through achievements that have benefited Jews everywhere. Below are some of the most meaningful milestones we've achieved together.

  1. 1947

    Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver presents case for an independent Israel at the United Nations in dramatic, historic session

  2. 1948

    The Israeli Declaration of Independence is made in Tel Aviv, a few hours before the British Mandate is due to expire. At midnight the British Mandate of Palestine is officially terminated and the State of Israel comes into being.

  3. 1949

    Israel's War of Independence ends with an armistice; Arab countries still refuse to recognize Israel.

  4. 1956

    Israeli, French, and British forces invade Egypt following the closing of the Suez Canal and Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping. Subsequently, Israel withdraws from the Sinai.

  5. 1964

    National Water Carrier completed, bringing water from Lake Kinneret in the north to the semi-arid south.

  6. 1967

    Six-Day War; Jerusalem reunited.
    Annual Campaign nearly doubles in response to Six Day War, reaching a record $11.5M

  7. 1970

    Interfaith study mission to Israel

  8. 1973

    Yom Kippur War; highest campaign achievement in Federation history is one phase of tremendous community response

  9. 1979

    Federation begins partnership with Tel Aviv neighborhood of Neve Sharett in Project Renewal program, linking Jews in Cleveland to Jews in Israel

  10. 1985

    Clevelanders contribute $1.5M to Operation Moses to rescue Ethiopian Jews; another $1M raised in Operation Solomon in 1991

  11. 1988

    Cleveland one of the few to send missions to Israel during Intifada

  12. 1995

    Federation selects Beit Shean, Israel for Partnership 2000 program to forge new definition of Israel-Diaspora relations

  13. 1996

    Ohio-Israel Cultural Exchange program created with governor’s office

  14. 1997

    Federation Overseas Connections Committee is formed to handle overseas distributions and co-sponsor programs including PACT, a literary project for Ethiopian immigrants in Beersheba, and ISHA, a women's health partnership between medical professionals in Cleveland and Israel

  15. 1998

    Parents and Children Together (PACT) program begins in Be’er Sheva, Israel, to aid absorption of Jewish Ethiopian preschoolers.

    Ohio-Israel Cultural Exchange program created with governor’s office

  16. 1999

    Cleveland plays a major role in the restructuring of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI)

  17. 2000

    Formation of the Beit Shean Valley Community Foundation

  18. 2001

    Cleveland sends largest single community solidarity mission of the year – 200 people – to Israel in its time of crisis; repeats record-setting mission in 2002

  19. 2002

    Israel’s health minister comes to Cleveland to kickoff the ISHA program, a $3M initiative to improve women’s health in Israel with Cleveland volunteer participation

    Israel Emergency Campaigns raise $8,904,560 in two years, which includes $1M Endowment Fund Grant

  20. 2005

    Cleveland sends a delegation of 54 young adults on a national Tel Aviv One mission to Israel, in an effort to strengthen the connection of the next generation to the Jewish community

  21. 2006

    Israel Emergency Campaign is launched

  22. 2011

    Launch of I-Connect to connect young Clevelanders to Israel travel experiences

  23. 2012

    Federation launches Bridge to The Future, an Israeli community revitalization organization in Beti Shean to transform disadvantaged communities

  24. 2017

    icnext (Israel.Cleveland.Next) is established to engage the next generation of Jewish Clevelanders and Israelis

Stories of Israel and Cleveland

Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver Speech to the United Nations

Without the tireless efforts of Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, spiritual leader of The Temple-Tifereth Israel for 46 years, there might not be the State of Israel.


From Rallies to Capital to Hands-On: Federation and Israel

The Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland has been considered the central address of the local Jewish community for over a century.


Clevelanders Have Played Vital Role in Israel's Success

Since before Israel declared its independence in 1948 through contemporary times, Clevelanders have played crucial roles in the founding and prosperity of the Jewish state.