The saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Never was this more profound for us than distinguishing the difference between knowing our Indianapolis community was part of a partnership area in Israel and experiencing it firsthand. We are so proud and privileged to see our Federation funds firsthand in process. Our deepest gratitude goes to Michele Boukai and Michelle Korin for the detailed arrangements.
In 28 hours, my husband, Marv, my sister–in-law Marilyn and I saw the best of the best. Our first stop was at Sulam Tzor High School, which overlooks the Lebanese border. Most touching was the display in the lobby with pictures of every student or family member of a student who was killed in war. Contrasted with North Central High School’s Hall of Fame, these former students contributed their lives. Unfortunately the gallery is growing. The school was quite resourceful in using recycled products in its décor outside, and even captures rainwater for later use in the toilet flushing process. Lunch with administrators revealed details about the Israeli education system. It requires community service hours from all students, who are pulled from many rural communities and must function despite the proximity of possible attacks.
The afternoon was spent in Bustan HaGalil visiting the “Wings” program, which enables young people with disabilities to be independent, learn critical employment skills and, if able, learn resourceful behaviors to serve Israel other than the traditional army service. We were impressed with the director Susan Nirens and her relationship with the residents, who transformed their lives in a few short months. Our dinner with Partnership volunteers at a local Rosh Hanikra restaurant included a visit with Tali Mashraky Dan, who lived in Indianapolis as a high school student when her parents taught at the Hasten Hebrew Academy for three years.
Read the rest of Michelle and Marv’s article about their trip to Israel at www.JFGI.org.