Connecting and Having Fun

The summer heat did not deter Clevelanders from visiting the Beit Shean region, as more than 200 people visited this summer! They all enjoyed beautiful tours, volunteer experiences and various opportunities to meet and get to know people of region. It is especially heartwarming that local families are always happy to open their hearts and host Clevelanders in their homes as if they were family.

Mr. Gil Rubanenko, the Director of the Jewish Community Center of Cleveland, together with his wife Kelly, who is a Senior Associate at the Cleveland Federation, visited the Beit Shean region in July and met with Community Center directors of the city and council, in order to think of new opportunities for community connections through art and theater.

Following his visit, the last big mission for the summer came to Beit Shean – the Camp Wise group of young group leaders. They spent 4 days together with young group leaders on 2 Kibbutzim in the valley – Sde Nachum and Neve Ur. The Clevelanders were hosted by their peers’ families for Shabbat, and learned about their way of life in the Kibbutz and the region.

After spending the weekend – getting to know families of their peers, volunteering together, dancing and swimming – the Clevelanders and Israelis drove to the Golan Heights for a 2 day hike. They learned about Tisha B’Av, strengthened the connections between them, went Kayaking and had a great time. After 4 days, they said goodbye and promised to keep in touch through the Partnership. One of the Clevelanders told her Israeli friend: “I can’t believe we’ve never met before! I feel like we’ve always been friends. Next time I’m in Israel – we must meet again!”

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