Federation’s Partnership2Gether Convenes in Israel After Pandemic Delay

Nashville is one of 12 communities throughout the Southeastern United States that along with the Czech Republic, partners with the Hadera-Eiron Region in Israel. These communities participate in people-to-people exchanges, both in person and virtual. The Jewish Federation of Greater Nashville plays an even larger leadership role in that the current United States chair of the partnership committee is Fred Zimmerman, a lifelong member of Nashville’s Jewish community.

The exchanges result in strong, meaningful, and life-long relationships. Many, if not all, of us who have participated in P2G programming can attest that the P2G program has not just made Israel more than a place on a map, but a home. Through the Partnership, we also create extended families with community members throughout the Southeast.

In early March 2020, the annual Partnership2Gether Hadera-Eron Southeastern Consortium Steering Committee convened in St. Petersburg, Florida. In addition to normal consortium business, the committee, consisting of CEOs, staff, and lay chairs began planning for the 20th Anniversary Celebration for Spring 2021. At the time, of course, we did not know the events that would immediately follow, and which would derail the celebratory plans. Over the years that followed, both Israeli and stateside staff and lay chairs changed, but the goal remained the same. We would eventually prevail, and all see each other in Israel to celebrate a major milestone not only as a committee but as a united community.

Fast forward to Spring 2023. After years of planning, postponing, and keeping the dream alive, the P2G Southeastern Consortium, Czech Republic, Hadera-Eiron 20th Celebration commenced. Yes, it was only three years, but we all agree it felt like much, much longer. This past April, Leslie Kirby, Fred Zimmerman, Deborah Oleshansky and I arrived in Tel Aviv. Along the way, Abigail Erwin, Drew Marshall, and Natalie Steinberg joined us to participate in the coinciding Leadership2Gether (L2G) retreat. Needless to say, Nashville was well represented. For Leslie, Fred, Deborah, and I, this was a long-awaited reunion with our consortium family. For Natalie, Drew, and Abigail, their journeys with P2G were just beginning.

Upon arrival to Israel, we were ushered away to welcome events in the region - where the first, middle, and last orders of business were hugs all around. The celebration included events and experiences throughout the region. We tasted food from local chefs, toured favorite places, spent Shabbat with consortium friends, and interacted with youth. We visited entrepreneurs at their businesses, including a winery and brewery. We met young people involved in our teen exchanges. We participated in activities teaching about diaspora Jewry. We experienced local education, art, and music. Each person we met continues to be directly impacted by our partnership programs. Over the course of just four days, we not only witnessed the impact we have already made, but were impacted, yet again, by the rich culture, spirituality, and communities of Hadera-Eiron. Most important, the celebration brought together family and friends from across the world to reunite because of a partnership forged over 20 years ago. Because of our partnership, we and our fellow consortium communities are stronger and more connected than they ever could have been.

We take our communities to Israel, but we also bring Israel to our communities. And that means you don’t have to get on a plane to be involved in Partnership. There are numerous opportunities to be

involved. For more information on our Partnership region and how to get involved, please reach out to Deborah Oleshansky (deborah@jewishnashville.org).


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