Saturday, April 25, 2009

Visit of Soldiers to Western U.S.

A contingent of five soldiers from Ashkelon Coast-Kiryat Malachi represented the Partnership in Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut ceremonies in six communities: Tucson, Phoenix, Seattle, Long Beach, Sacramento and Silicon Valley.

Two, Lital Shalev from Moshav Gea and Yisrael Eini from Kiryat Malachi, visited Tucson, Phoenix, and Seattle. Yisrael had previously been to Palm Springs as a counselor through our partnership, and Lital was in Tucson as a counselor several years ago.
In Tucson, after arriving mid-day Friday, April 24,, they visited the Tucson Hebrew Academy and gave a pre-Shabbat talk to the about 60 or 70 students plus their teachers and then answered questions. Lital, together with Ken Miller and his wife, attended Friday night Shabbat services at Temple Emanuel (Reform) where Lital gave a short talk to about 70 in attendance about who she is and where she lives and then chatted with people at the Kiddush after the service. Yisrael spent Shabbat with a Chabad Family and enjoyed talking with them about Israel. The Hillel shaliach at the University of Arizona and some Hillel students spent time with Lital during the day. and then partipated in the Jewish community Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) service.
It was Lital's birthday, so the Millers took Lital out for dinner, and the waiter sang "Happy Birthday" to her and brought her a small cake.
After dinner Lital and Israel went to the University to a party.
Sunday, after working on their speeches, they two gave a 7-minute speech at the Yom HaZikaron ceremony where over 300 people were in attendance.
You can see the singing of the song from the ceremony, Tishmor Al Ha'Olam, Yeled, by a trio and the two soldiers at attention to the left by visiting this YouTube site: Http://

The two were in Seattle from April 27 to 30. Yisrael visited NW Yeshiva High School, talked to two classes and participated in the Yom Hazikaron service at the school, leading Hatikva as he stood at attention.

NW Yishiva high school students lighting memorial candles

Yisrael also spoke to middle school students at the Seattle Hebrew Academy.

8th graders at Seattle Hebrew Academy
At both places, Yisrael explained that it is easy to be religious (Orthodox) in the army. All the food is kosher and Shabbat is observed. If there is an urgent need to do something on Shabbat, it is done and is halachlically approved.
The two also participated in a program at the Jewish Day School of Greater Seattle and spoke to 3--7th grade youth at the Herzl-Ner Tamid supplemental religious school.
Lital at Herzl in uniform

Lital and Yisrael with Herzl-Ner Tamid group
The principal of the school said that the youth were very impressed by the soldiers and went home and told their parents about their visit. One thing that impressed them was that Israeli officers could be so young. One child asked if the two would have entered the army if it were not compulsory. They responded strongly that they would because it is their responsibility to their country.

In addition, hey talked to several Jewish Youth clubs at public schools, two classes at Roosevelt High School,
Explaining army uniforms to Roosevelt class

Sara Lahyani from the Federation, Lital, Yisrael, and Roosevelt HS teacher
spoke to the Federation Young Adult leadership group, chatted with University of Washington service on the 29th at the Israelpalooza event, and spoke before the showing of two Israeli films at the Seattle Jewish Film Festival.

With host mom, Julie Margulies, who will be volunteering in Kiryat Malachi this summer

They were able to see snow on Mount Rainier and other mountains in the area on arrival and departure, but only had rain and cloudy days in between, but the people they met were quite warm and friendly.

In Phoenix, from Thursday afternoon, April 30th through Sunday, May 2, the two spoke at 9 different places including 30 high school students at Hebrew High, the Federation staff, 50 youth in 9th and 10th grade at Jess Schwartz College Prep, 60 middle schoolers and staff at Pardes Jewish Day School, and 30 6th--8th graders at the Phoenix Hebrew Academy.
One spoke at Temple Chai Shabbat services and the other at Young Israel's Young Israel seudat shlishit. They also spoke to middle schoolers at Har Zion religious school and were involved at the community Independence Day Celebration, which over 1000 people attended.

TIPS table at Phoenix's Yom Haatzmaut

Yisrael, Lital, Sharron (Shalicha) and volunteers at TIPS table

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