What did YOU do on July 16, 2001? You probably don’t remember. Most likely, you had yet another ordinary summer day.
Yet, for some people, this day means a lot. It could have been a life changer, perhaps even a lifesaver for them.
Since we just celebrated the 18th anniversary of this date, let me recap it for you:
Look at the crazy itinerary of the day:
I’ve kept it framed in my office ever since. It reflects so much of who we are as a community: 15 stops throughout the country… 4 partnership regions… 5 mayors. Many achievements and endless unmet needs. Even for the craziest Missions junkies, this was an extremely hectic, almost inhumane, day.
At 9 a.m. we visited Kibbutz Erez. This was the moment. Our first community visit to Erez. It was the very beginning of the second Intifada. The Kibbutz needed us – they didn’t have even one proper safe-room. We needed them – we were looking for tangible ways to engage our community with Israel and tell the story of the Gaza region. A true, beautiful partnership took root that morning.
Look at the photo taken 9:25 a.m.:
You might recognize David Saginaw, then incoming Campaign chair of our Federation; Barbara Drench, then Women’s Philanthropy president; and Adam Schwartz, then Campaign Director. This photo shows a (much younger looking) Amir, me, passionately lecturing (unchanged) David and Barbara about the possible threat of rockets from Gaza, months before the first one was even launched.
It ends with a prophecy: “Your decision to visit Erez was an admirable, correct, and successful one, and I very much hope that it will grow into a real partnership.”
Barbara, as active, spirited, and dedicated a community leader as ever, visited Erez again last week. Pictured here with our Greater MetroWest Israel team, she saw unbelievable resilience and growth – a new neighborhood full of children, along with dozens Greater MetroWest footprints in form of reinforcement and quality-of-life projects, lots of Greater MetroWest visitors. It’s a vibrant and busy “living bridge.”
Erez is celebrating its 70th birthday and is a proud member of our extended partnerships community of Negba, David is our Federation’s President Elect, and me? I am just the story teller, saying, in honor this Chai occasion, “Am Israel Chai.”