The Pittsburgh Jewish community received First Place recognition in the 2013 Awards of Excellence presented by the Jewish Agency for Israel for outstanding efforts in the Partnership2Gether (P2G) program. The honor is shared with Pittsburgh’s P2G partner communities, Karmiel and the Misgav region.
P2G builds people-to-people connections between Israelis and Jewish communities in the Diaspora through educational, cultural and economic development initiatives.
The award-winning “Welcome Home” initiative encompassed the P2G component of Pittsburgh’s Centennial Mega Mission to Israel, in June 2012. With the mission’s first two days taking place in Karmiel/Misgav, Welcome Home enabled the 290 mission-goers to cultivate enduring connections with their Israeli peers who live in our partner communities.
A key component of Welcome Home was the “people mapping” component, which involved systematic matching of Pittsburghers with Karmiel/Misgav residents based on compatible backgrounds and interests, as determined via a questionnaire completed by participants. Israelis joined their “matches” for two festive dinners, and many also accompanied their new Pittsburgh friends during other portions of programming in the region.
“The Federation’s decision to spend two days of the mission in our P2G communities was welcomed with open arms by the people of Karmiel and Misgav,” said Cindy Goodman Leib, co-chair of Pittsburgh’s P2G effort, said in a prepared statement. “With the mission in the planning stages for more than a year — culminating with the visit to the region, Welcome Home went a long way in fulfilling P2G’s goal of engaging and connecting people in all the partner communities.”
Another aspect of Welcome Home was a flash mob, which garnered much attention in the Israeli media.
“With Karmiel so well known for its annual international dance festival, it seemed natural to plan something around dance,” Jan Levinson, P2G co-chair, said in a prepared statement. “The flash mob dance was choreographed in Israel and taught to Pittsburghers during our mission orientation sessions. This was great fun before, during and after the actual flash mob.”
The final component of Welcome Home was the dedication of a sculpture in the Family Park in Karmiel, when Pittsburghers and their Israeli hosts painted footprint-shaped stones to create a permanent path leading to the sculpture.
“Each Mega Mission participant is now acquainted with at least one person from the partner communities who symbolizes a real and warm ‘home’ in Israel,” Lieb said. “And families in the Partnership region have a strong bond and better understanding of the reality of Jewish life in the Diaspora.”
Contact Debbie Swartz, P2G coordinator, at 412-992-5208 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.