Our Federation’s Partnership with Zichron Yaakov, Israel, is something we are uniquely proud of here in South Palm Beach County. Partnership2Gether, or P2G, is an initiative of the Jewish Agency for Israel that brings the entire Jewish family together by forming deep connections among Jews around the world. Our incredible Partnership between South Palm and Israel is in its fifth year, providing programs and activities that help foster meaningful relations with our Jewish family across the ocean.
“Remember These Times” Song Ties Us Together Still
While dealing with the pandemic’s challenges, the P2G joint steering committee held a special committee retreat with one goal – to collaborate on an original partnership song (with help from experts, of course), called “Remember These Times.” April Leavy, local Chair of the P2G Steering Committee expressed, “Seeing our P2G partnership in action is the greatest feeling I’ve had as Chair. Despite the pandemic, both our Steering Committees were able to express themselves, voice their visions and hopes for our combined communities with the creation of this unique song. It was a true bonding experience. There is power when you laugh together, you cry together, and you sing together.” Each lyrical line perfectly represents the Partnership’s work and also honors the moment we were all in, separated due to a pandemic.
Lyric: “Across the Oceans that Divide Us, We Are Bridges that Connect”
With travel suspended, P2G leaders knew it was important to bring Zichron Yaakov to South Palm Beach County homes. Remembering that Zichron is known for its sensational wine and historic wineries, the Partnership was able to be featured at local virtual reunion programs where community members connected with their peers over a glass of Zichron wine.
Throughout the school year, classrooms in both partnership communities used Zoom to participate in educational programs and activities. P2G School-twinning teachers brought their classrooms closer to one another through working together to develop special educational programs with topics relevant to both communities.
While schools are on summer break, the Partnership continues to engage our community’s children. P2G is holding a program for PJ Library’s tween participants through PJ Our Way™: a pen-pal program that matches 10 families from South Palm Beach County and 10 families from Zichron Yaakov, who will spend the summer writing letters based on Jewish topics and on their interests.
Lyric: “No Matter What We’re Thrown Into We’re Stronger Side by Side”
To commemorate Yom Hazikaron, a national remembrance for fallen soldiers and victims of terror, one of our community’s synagogues, Boca Raton Synagogue (BRS), reached out to families in Zichron Yaakov. BRS congregants wrote letters to Zichron families that have lost a family member during their military service or through an act of terror. While we could not be physically together, community members found a way to surround Zichron families with love.
During the conflict in Israel earlier this year, the Partnership proved to be a force of goodness again. South Palm Beach County committee members reached out to friends and family in Zichron, sending messages of hope. Committee members took a stand against the violence that threatened the safety and security of our homeland.
Lyric: “From Zichron to Boca, Together Once Again”
In June, the first sign of reunification appeared when South Palm Beach County Onward Israel interns boarded flights to Israel. Upon their arrival, our Partnership offered a warm-welcome to the group by sending Shabbat care-packages with Zichron Yaakov wine and a loaf of challah. After a few weeks in to their program, the 24 Onward Israel interns also had the opportunity to spend a Shabbat with families in Zichron Yaakov to experience the warmth of home-hospitality in our Partnership community. The interns loved their time in their “home-away-from-home” so much that they asked if they could move their program from Tel Aviv to Zichron Yaakov.
Lyric: “When We Least Expect It, We Grow Closer as One Community.”
Our vibrant Partnership between South Palm Beach County and Zichron Yaakov is truly something unique that will continue to grow throughout the years, providing programs and activities that create meaningful relationships with our Jewish family across the ocean.