Partnership 2Gether, or “the Partnership,” is a powerful way for Israelis and Diaspora communities to get to know each other.
The Partnership brings people in Jewish Federation communities together with Israelis to develop relationships through joint projects and shared experiences. The Partnership is truly a “people-to-people” connection.
The 2011-2012 Rochester Modi’in Partnership is chaired in Rochester by Dr. Ricki Birnbaum in Rochester and Omri Knoller in Modi’in.
“The Rochester Jewish community and the community of Modi’in have a great deal in common,” commented Howard Grossman, Rochester Federation president at the time the Rochester-Modi’in partnership was formed. Howard added, “we are both largely suburban communities. There are wonderful opportunities for young families in Rochester, for example, to get to know young families in Modi’in.”
Partnership 2Gether (then “Partnership 2000″) was launched internationally in 1995 and concentrates on Israel’s peripheral areas, like the Negev and Galilee, which hold more than two-thirds of Israel’s land reserves, yet house only 17% of the population. Today, over 40 regions have been matched with 550 Diaspora communities.
Volunteers and professionals from our Federation in Rochester went on a fact-finding mission in June 2003 to explore Partnership communities for Rochester. Modi’in, one possibility, was conveniently located half way between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Modi’in was selected by the Federation after a year long process as a perfect place to begin to build “people to people” relationships between Rochesterians and Israelis.
How we got started…
Steering Committees were formed both in Rochester and in Modi’in. Several members of the Rochester Committee, including then Co-Chairs Don Onimus and Lorraine Wolch, traveled to Modi’in during a visit to Israel for the 2003 General Assembly, held in Jerusalem, in November.
Mission participants were warmly welcomed by Modi’in’s eminent Partnership steering committee, headed at the time by General Amos Malka, who retired from the Israel Defense Forces in 2002 after a long, distinguished career. General Malka last served as Head of IDF Ground Forces and as Director of Defense Intelligence. Avi Golan, past Jerusalem Post Board Vice Chair and Executive Director, is another distinguished member of the committee, which includes professionals, entrepreneurs, and educators.
While in Modi’in, the Partnership steering committee met with their Israeli counterpart committee and developed a plan for a variety of projects and programs to bring our communities closer together. Others on the mission got the flavor of life in Modi’in, visiting schools, the community center, and the YOZMA reform synagogue and kindergarten.
The two groups came together mid-afternoon for a moving tree planting ceremony, creating a new grove overlooking the center of town; this future forest symbolizes the beginning and growth of our new long term relationship. A festive dinner with Modi’in residents at a wonderful local restaurant capped off the day.