Our partnership with Kiryat Malachi and Hof Ashkelon has two elements:
1) Empower youth and young adults.
2) Bring Israelis and American Jews together to strengthen bonds of friendship through personal contact.
In recent years, the Partnership has focused on leadership and empowerment for the teens and young adults. More than 150 youth from Kiryat Malachi and Hof Ashkelon attended two seminars to come up with ideas for programming that would make a change in the lives of teens in their region. From those seminars, the Partnership has helped create and support the following programs:
Empowering Youth and Young Adults
1) Art City is a project that has placed programs for teens in bands, dance, theater and photography under one umbrella. It is amazing to see how the skills of these teens have grown. They perform locally and have been invited to perform in regional and national events.
2) The first sports league in the 20-community Hof Ashkelon region. Local schools do not have sports teams, nor has there ever been a regional sports league. Since youth in the same community often attend different secondary schools, they rarely see each other, and because of poor public transportation, they often do not meet teens in other communities. Since 2007, more than 150 teens have participated in the league each year on 11-plus teams.
3) A Youth Council and Youth Center serves as a gathering place for teens from around the region where they plan and carry out regional teen activities. Also, it supports teens who are advisors/counselors for younger youth in their moshavim and kibbutzim, and through seminars and activities learn leadership skills. During the Gaza action, teens from this group volunteered with the elderly and young children.
4) For both communities, a future project for young adults: Centers in Kiryat Malachi and Hof Ashkelon help young adults network and enhance their ability to find jobs.
Bringing American and Israeli Jews Together
For more than five years, the Partnership has been sending Israeli teens to volunteer in summer camps in the Western U.S. In Seattle, the youth are at the Stroum Jewish Community Center Day Camp, bringing a taste of Israel and Hebrew to the campers. The Israelis stay with local Jewish families who have teens in their households. The Seattle-area families have created strong bonds with these teens and many have visited them in Israel. The Israeli teens go back to Israel with stronger leadership skills and a commitment to giving back to their communities in Israel. If you have teens at home during the summer and are interested in hosting an Israeli from two to six weeks, email us.
Separately, the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle has also helped fund other specific projects in the Kiryat Malachi/Hof Ashkelon region, including:
- Scholarships for first generation Ethiopian-Israeli college students from Kiryat Malachi
- An after-hours emergency medical clinic in Kiryat Malachi and a dental program in Hof Ashkelon
- Security fencing around schools
- The YEDID advocacy program, primarily for recent immigrants
Find out more about Federation grants benefiting Kiryat Malachi and Hof Ashkelon that were approved for 2015-2016.
For more information about the Partnership or other Israel programming, please email us at Israel@JewishInSeattle.org.
Read stories about Seattle and Israelis strengthening bonds of friendship.
Check out the Partnership Facebook page.