The Jewish Observer
News from Middle Tennessee's Jewish Community | Saturday, April 13, 2024
The Jewish Observer

Update from P2G

The Hadera-Eiron Israel Partnership2Gether (P2G) Joint Steering Committee held its annual meeting on March 10-13 in Chattanooga. This meeting is when our Israel Partnership Consortium determines the budget for the upcoming year and evaluates which programs and initiatives we will pursue over the course of the year to achieve the Partnership’s goals.  

As the US Community Coordinator for our Partnership region, I went to the meeting with Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville Community Relations Director Deborah Oleshansky and Nashville P2G Committee Chair Christie Wiemers. 

Representatives from Charleston, Chattanooga, Florida’s Gulf Coast, Greensboro, Jacksonville, Lee & Charlotte Counties, Nashville, and Richmond participated alongside four Israeli participants: P2G Director Shimrit Orgal, P2G Israel Co-Chair Alon Kloss, and past P2G Israel Co-Chairs Elisha Hosman and Dorit Zini. Kloss and Hosman are currently in active service in the Israel Defense Forces and took a week off of their service to be able to travel among the Partnership communities and demonstrate their commitment to our Partnership. 

The Partnership offers diverse programs that touch on the following five pillars: 

  1. Educating its community members about Israel and Diaspora Jewry 
  2. Promoting Jewish peoplehood and mutual responsibility 
  3. Creating awareness and strengthening Jewish identity 
  4. Building deep and meaningful relationships 
  5. Increasing community engagement 

Nashville’s own Fred Zimmerman has been serving as P2G US Co-Chair for the last three years and presided over the meeting alongside Kloss. 

Before the meeting, the four Israeli representatives toured some of the communities in the Consortium, including Richmond, Greensboro, Charlotte, and Nashville. This was Kloss’s first time visiting these communities and the visit was eye-opening for him about how connected our communities are to what is going on in Israel. 

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Attendees at the 2024 P2G Joint Steering Committee meeting.
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Pictured l. to r.: P2G Director Shimrit Orgal, Immediate Past P2G Stateside Co-Chair Fred Zimmerman, P2G Israel Co-Chair Alon Kloss
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Shimrit Orgal, P2G Director, speaks to the Joint Steering Committee

“The meetings throughout the visit, the discussions, and the understandings expressed a love of Israel and a belief in the righteousness of our path as a people and as a Partnership,” Kloss said. “I was impressed by the hard work [the communities] are doing and the commitment to our special Partnership.” 

Zimmerman said that Hosman and Kloss’s presence at this meeting during wartime underscored how meaningful this Partnership is to everyone involved. 

“The fact that [they] went to the effort to make this trip to our region, at this time, in this environment, speaks volumes,” Zimmerman said. “Our friends left behind the critical things they’re doing in Israel to tell us, in person and face to face, that we need each other, and that everything we have built over the years means more than we know.” 

As part of the programming from the meeting, Wiemers participated in a panel of lay leaders who shared with the rest of the group what the Partnership means to them and how they got involved. Wiemers shared about her relationship with Adi, with whom she was connected through the Partnership’s Local2Global (L2G) exchange program. 

“My L2G host Adi is an extension of my heart and of my life,” she said. “Every time I think of Israel, I don’t think of Israel anymore, I think of every individual touchpoint I have ever had. On October 7, it wasn’t ‘oh my goodness this is happening in Israel’, it’s ‘oh my goodness this is happening to my family there.’” 

As Zimmerman steps down from his position as P2G US Co-Chair, he and Kloss agree that the relationships and connections born out of our Partnership are more crucial than ever before. 

“This is not business as usual,” Kloss said. “Partnership as family is not just a fantasy. I felt it.” 

Partnership is a great way to get involved,” Zimmerman said. “You get such a different view of things when you can actually talk to people as opposed to only reading or watching the news.  You get to know Israel by knowing Israelis.” 

 

If you would like to be part of our Nashville Partnership committee or host Israeli teens from our Partnership teens the week of July 14, please email me at eitan@jewishnashville.org or call me at 615-354-1664. 

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