I am writing to you from our Campaign Chairs and Directors Mission bus, returning from Ramle to Tel Aviv, to attend the opening of the Maccabiah games. We saw a remarkable program in Ramle called Net@. Aimed at youth at risk in 23 communities in the physical and social periphery of Israel, it is a three-year course in computer science, English, and leadership. Net@ Ramle is special because it is one of five coexistent Net@ programs. Jewish kids, Muslim Arab kids, and Christian Arab kids come together to learn with and from each other, many of whom would never otherwise encounter each other.
We learned from these kids, about Ramle and each of our home communities, through a computer research exercise that, of course, required great assistance from the Net@ participants. More important, although we, the federations of North America, provide the financial support for Net@, these kids inspired us. As Nadine, one of the Arab Israeli participants said to us, "We are learning from each other and we are the future."
"Neta" means "plant" or "seed" in Hebrew. Thank you for planting this seed for the future - it is your gift to the UJA Annual Campaign that makes programs like Net@ a reality.
Sarabeth and I are having a wonderful time and will have so much to tell you when we get back!