On a spectacular fall Sunday, under the beautiful tent at Chabad at Short Hills, more than 60 community members came out to schmooze in person for the first time in over 18 months, meet our wonderful new Mishlachat (Israeli emissaries), and hear an exciting update from Nisan Ben Hamo, Mayor of Arad – one of our partner cities in Israel.
Our partnership with the city of Arad dates back more than 20 years. What was once a sleepy town on the periphery of the Negev is now a dynamic hub of business development, arts, and culture with a booming tourism industry. Arad is home to almost 30,000 residents – roughly the same number as Livingston, New Jersey. It boasts a diverse population of Orthodox and secular Jews, Ashkenazi and Mizrahi, Bedouins, and Jews of many national origins. Arad is widely respected for its world-class annual music festival and, thanks to the generosity of so many of our Lions of Judah, a first-rate music conservatory. In addition, people flock to Arad because of its proximity to the Dead Sea and Masada; its breathtaking hiking trails, bike paths, and desert scenery; and its restaurants, wineries, and boutique hotels.
In Global Connections, the Israel & Overseas arm of Federation, the Arad Task Force is part of our Israel Partnership Network platform, co-chaired by Julia Malaga and Linda Rosenthal. This Task Force works with Israeli volunteers on the Arad Steering Committee in Israel, led by our friend and community leader, Chen Lenchner, to decide how to allocate funds to programs in Arad. These dedicated volunteers research proposals and apply rigorous standards to determine which projects best support our goals of creating living bridges, building Jewish identity, promoting social and economic development, and enhancing our personal relationship between NJ and Israel. Our allocations currently fund:
- A business hub and accelerator to assist entrepreneurs
- A tourism initiative: From Arad with Love
- Teen Leadership Development
- A Young Adult Social Involvement Coordinator
We’re proud to support this flourishing community and enrich the Negev. We cherish our friendship with Mayor Ben Hamo and our longstanding partnership with Arad.
The icing on the cake is that this year, two of our amazing Rishonim (pre-army Israeli emissaries) are from Arad. Doron Peltz and Eyal Reuven are shining examples of the city’s vibrancy, its commitment to education and social action, and its dedication to youth and families. Doron and Eyal, together with our other Rishonim — Lia, Liad and Eliya — bring joy, enthusiasm, and Ahavat Yisrael (love of Israel) to the Greater MetroWest community. We’re lucky that they’re here and we look forward to all that they will accomplish.
Global Connections will be travelling to Israel at the end of February 2022 to visit many of our projects and partners in Israel. Stay tuned for more information then pack your bags and join us: B’yachad – Together – in Israel!