A P2G Soul Break in the Midst of “Pillar of Defense”

Dear Partnership Family,

A lousy week. Seven long days filled with worry, disrupted days and intermittent sleep for so many of us – yet riddled with some glimmers of hope that maybe this operation will be followed by quieter times for Israel’s southern communities. I know that you are all following the news so I will not tell you things that you already know.

But I do want to share with you that the outpouring of support from our Partnership2Gether communities is incredible. Not just telephone calls, e-mails and videos expressing concern and love, but immediate and concrete requests wanting to know our specific needs: How can they help secure a reprieve for the maximum number of kids?; Do you need help with buses?; In what way can we work to help increase security?; Cancelled joint P2G steering committees replaced by solidarity missions. And if you’d like to smile just a bit today please watch this video greeting sent from Shir Hadash Los Gatos 5th graders to their friends at the Ashkelon Coast Hofim School, encouraging them – “Don’t stop believing peace will come”.

Our Federations are generously donating to JFNA’s Emergency Campaign,  which enables the Jewish Agency, the JDC and other organizations in Israel to provide a real response without giving a second thought to the final bill.

And despite it all, as rockets rained (or shall I say reigned…) from our border along the Gaza strip up to Tel Aviv, the Partnership Family took a soul break. Half a year ago, for the first time, we asked each Partnership to take part in the Global Day of Jewish Learning.  A whopping 25 of you decided to do so. This year’s theme was “Gratitude and Blessings” – quite poignant under our current reality.

And then, after all our intentions and plans, November 18th rolled around and it turned out to be the single harshest day of “Pillar of Defense”.  And yet 21 out of our 25 Partnerships took a soul break and went ahead with their P2G GDJL joint activity – several have already sent us videos and photos from their activity. This was a strange-feeling decision, but the overwhelming response was that this is exactly the right moment to draw strength from such fundamental Jewish values, to be together and undertake content-rich activity.  It was just the right time to feel deeply connected with the Jewish people. The four partnerships which understandably were unable to take part – Eshkol, Kiryat Gat, Beer Sheva and Ofakim – will do so when things quiet down and indeed we trust will have a lot to bless and be grateful for.

Many of our Partnerships instinctively added to their activity their “gratitude and blessings”  to our IDF soldiers.

I personally add my gratefulness to those Israelis who are doing beyond the call of action to help those in need and to our overseas partnerships for their continued concern and concrete action.

We extend our blessing to all of you. Stay safe. Be well.

I know that being one people – one Partnership Family – is bringing tremendous energy and power to all of us.


Andrea Arbel


Partnership Unit

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