Saturday, July 31, 2010

Shorts from Israel, July 30, 2010, on subjects big and small


1)  The city of Kiryat Malachi continues to upgrade the way the city looks.  We see street sweepers at least twice a week go by our apartment. 
The roundabout at the intersection of Ben Gurion and Jabotinsky really looks lovely, with a mature olive tree in the center and a bubbling fountain too. 

There are signs of construction in town:

2)  We are amazed at the building of new roads and improving old ones.  We found out that one reason there is a huge push to improve roads in the south of the country is that the army will be moving its basic training location from the center of the country and some parts further north to the south, in the greater Beersheva area.

Expanding road outsdide of Beersheva
 Most main roads have dividers (see left of photo above) between the two different flows of traffic for safety.  To reduce congestions, there are new and improved roads going on the outskirts of Beersheva The new highway intersections/cloverleafs are quite spectactular in that area.  We also noticed a number of speed traps with police using laser guns to catch speeders.

There is a new train line that will go to Beersheva and a lot of improvement is going into the roads there.  Highway 6, the toll road, last year opened its branch from the Ashdod/Ashkelon exit southward.  There is no toll on that part of the highway as the government built it and not private industry as the volume might not have been big enough for profit, but it was needed because of the army shift and to encourage more people to move into that area.

3)  This past week, Israelis were shocked by the deaths of 4 pilots and 3 other air force officers in helicopter training exercise in Romania.,7340,L-3927326,00.html  The helicopter is huge, and could carry 50, but they only allow up to 20 in one after 50+ were killed years ago in a training exercise.  After the names of the dead were announced, the daily national newspaper Maariv dedicated one page for each of those who died in the crash.

4)  Some of the people who left Gush Katif and moved into temporary housing 5 years ago north of Ashkelon are now moving into their permanent homes.  We visited with the librarian at Nitzan, Ayala. 

Ayala on right at work
Her family should be able to move into its new home before the holidays. 

Ayala in her new kitchen
Her son Itai was a counselor in Seattle a few years ago.  We met another man, a doctor, who had rented a home in Gaza when he lived there.  As a result, he was not given a subsidy since he had not owned a home.  Others like him are in limbo.  They are trying to negotiate with the government to get something so that they can get out of the temporary housing they have been in for 5 years.

5)  Here are a few signs that we would not see in our communities in the US:

No entrance on holidays and Shabbat

                           Beware of Camel Crossing near Mamshit--also visual signs with picture of camel    
Street signs in 3 languages, Hebrew, Arabic, and English
The letter "Q" not followed by a "U"
This is one of the few signs in the area pointing toward Kiryat Malachi.  It is about 7 miles from town.

6)  Friday night we were invited to friends for dinner and we offered to bring a bottle of wine.  Suddenly at 3 p.m. I remembered to buy it and rushed to the supermarket across the street.  I was afraid that it had already closed, but I was assured by the guard on duty that the store would stay open until 3:30 p.m.  Most of the other businesses in town usually close before that on Friday afternoon and stay closed until Saturday night or Sunday morning, the start of the week.   Here is a picture I took in front of our apartment at 5:30 Friday afternoon.  The usually busy streets were empty, as you can see.

7)  Plastic  and glass bottles are the main items recycled by residents in towns.  Large plastic  bottles  (a liter or more) are collected in huge bins, while smaller plastic and glass bottles can be returned to supermarkets for 30 agorot each (approximately 8 cents US).

8)  One day I went to buy 1% milk.  When Howard took a drink, he wondered if something were wrong with the milk.  I looked carefully at the container and realized that it was a milk "drink" with sugar added....and yes, it was 1%--lower fat but added sugar.  Phoey!
9)  Bread is the staple of life, so for many people it is hard to throw away.  In the US we often freeze it for stuffing or make bread crumbs from it.  Many Israelis don't like to throw it away either, so they often put it next to the community garbage can or in other conspicuous places.  Here are two of my favorite ones:

Bread on a fence post
A crow pecking at a bag of bread on top of the plastic bottle recycling cage

10)  Driving in Jerusalem is an experience that we don't want to do very often.  Even Dalia Burgana has told me that when she has to go to Jerusalem, she drives just inside the city and then takes a cab to where she has to go.  We drove in Jerusalem last Thursday to get to Har (Mount) Herzl and then to visit some cousins in Katamon (now called Gonen).  It was definitely harrowing.  Twice Howard made u turns where they were not allowed.  If he hadn't we might not have been able to turn around for a long time.  There is a lot of traffic, many hills, huge intersections, new one-way streets, a lack of numbers of buildings, often a lack of street signs, and crazy drivers.  What more can I add!

Youth Council in Kiryat Malachi--On the Move

On July 26th, I met with Moriah and a member of the Kiryat Malachi Youth Council, Lital, in Moriah's apartment. Moriah lives in the Weitzman neighborhood, very close to Dalia.  This year the Youth Council was restructured, under the leadership of Moriah Ben-David, who was appointed the Youth Director (ages 12 to 18) for the city of Kiryat Malachi in late August, 2009.

I talked almost exclusively with Lital as my main purpose was to hear from a member of the Youth Council about the group itself. All but two of the YC members this year are girls. They hope to add more guys in the fall (to replace the graduates, like Lital.)

Lital just graduated from high school. She has been active in Migdalo, a program mainly for teens in the poorer neighborhoods in town so that teens have some place to go after school and in summers.  it is directed by Yaffa Golan. (Yaffa's son Yarden was a counselor in Seattle the summer of 2009). Migdalo, a Better Together program, is one of two teen groups in KM that has its own steering committee/leadership group, and Lital has been a member of that leadership group. This fall, they appointed her as the representative from the group to the KM Youth Council.

Lital was wearing a yellow KM Youth Council shirt so I asked her about it. She said that the group felt it was important to have a YC shirt so that teens around town would recognize who they were, to "brand" them. Three or four in the group worked together on the shirt project. They made a design, checked out places that print shirts, found a good, cheap price and had 50 made, the minimum number. They distributed a bit more than 20 this year and will have more for new members that join in the next few years. Each shirt had the logo of KM, the MATNAS, and the Jewish Agency. (At that time they did not have the TIPS logo, but they do have it now and will use it from now on. Moriah has taught them it is important to recognize those who support the group.)

Lital said that it took a while for the new youth council members to learn to function as a group. They didn't really know each other in some cases they knew others enough to say "hi" but that was about it. The city gave them the "first building" in town, Beit Harishonim, to use as their center. It was messy inside, so they spent a lot of time cleaning it up, painting it, putting up pictures, etc.

The group meets regularly from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday evenings and sometimes on Wednesdays too when needed. (If they cannot attend meetings or if they will be late, they are required to contact Moriah in advance.)

At the beginning, they had activities to learn about each other and more about themselves. Through these activities and planning of events (includiing cleaning of Beit Harishonim and taking responsibility for different parts of the clean up), Lital said she learned a lot about herself. She learned that she could "give" more than she thought she was able to. Also, she learned in depth what "responsibility" meant and how important follow through was. She learned that if she volunteered for something, she had to follow through because others counted on her, so she could not say later that she could not do it.

The first big event that they planned was the "opening ceremony" of the youth council where the YC members were officially sworn in. It was in the MATNAS auditorium, and the place was full. The YC members felt it was important to have a big public event so that people would know who they were and what they stood for. One girl named Avniela who never had spoken up much, volunteered to be the master of ceremonies. (Moriah was surprised to see her volunteer, but let the group take control of the program.) It turned out that Avniela was a great MC. BTW, she represents the "teens at risk" in the Youth Council. Less than 6 months before the event, this young woman would never have volunteered to do such a thing.

One memorable training program that 15 out of 20 of the YC members attended was a workshop on leadership for members of Youth Councils in all of the southern region of Israel, around Purim. They got permission from schools to be absent. The program was from noon to 9 p.m. They attended a number of workshops on being leaders. For example, in schools, they are not taught to speak in front of groups. At one workshop, they learned and practiced how to do so, a skill that Lital feels has really helped them. A side effect of the workshop day was that they met and interacted with youth leaders from other parts of Israel.

As a result of the meeting, several KM YC members wanted to get together with the YC in Ashkelon and share ideas. So far they have not succeeded, but they continue to try. (They are learning that planning takes a lot of work and not every suggestion that they work on comes to fruition.)

They divided into sub-committees for a while, but then found out that many wanted to work on several different sub-committees, so they have dropped that idea for the time being.

They were involved in the KM 60th anniversary celebration and helped with different parts. One thing that they did with other youth was to work with the local deaf group and learned to sign the song "Yachad Lev v'lev" and sang and signed with them at the 60th anniversary celebration.

For several months they have been planning a big event that will take place this coming Tuesday afternoon, August 3. (Unfortunately, we fly out of Israel that morning.) The event is to mark 1500 days that Gilad Shalit has been a captive. At 5 p.m. participants will gather near the soccer field and then march together with signs (made by the youth) to the park near the MATNAS, where a program will follow, totally planned by the youth. They had hoped to get a member of Gilad's family, and he did agree to come at first, but then when other bigger communities started to plan a similar event, he had to turn them down. However, another representative of the national group to free Gilad will come and speak in KM. Other speakers include the mayor, the head of the MATNAS, and a member of the YC; the KM chief rabbi will give a blessing for Gilad; and Limor will sing as will a choir from AMIT high School. (I heard her last week when she tried out for Kohav Nolad...she has a lovely voice.) They will have 150 balloons that will be released in the park, symbolic of 1500 days Shalit has been a prisoner.

About 7 from the YC also went on a bus rented by the city to a Gilad Shalit event as his parents were walking to Jerusalem from the Galil. The mayor had invited them to represent the city youth. They had to be ready to leave at 6 a.m., not a common time in the summer for teens here. In advance, the YC made signs for the group to take and had extras for some other people on the bus.

As a follow up activity to the big event on August 3, they plan to go to different youth groups in town and hold small discussions called "Cafe Dilemma." They will talk about the "costs" of freeing Gilad, and of not freeing him. Members of the youth group will help lead the discussions.

In advance, the group did big cloth posters and put them up in town.

 The flyer (above) is being passed out now throughout town.

One more event is in the planning stage but still the early stages. The group wants to do something on the problems of drugs and alcohol, or on responsible driving. At this point, the have not yet decided on which area to focus. Once they do, they know they want an event where they can bring in a teen group that sing songs focusing on these issues to get the attention of teens in town. Then they plan to do follow up activities, mainly through the youth groups in town to have educational discussions on the focus problems.

The group also has a Facebook page at!/profile.php?id=100001024635531 for ‏נוער קריית מלאכי

I also asked Lital what the Youth Council meant to her personally. She said that although she only had one year to be involved since its rebirth, it really helped her a lot. As I mentioned earlier, she really learned what responsibility meant in depth and the importance of follow through. She also learned how to deal with many different kinds of people. Through the YC events and programs, she was pushed out of her comfort zone and succeeded, growing and maturing. She is religious, so will not go to the army but will do "national service." She originally had planned to work in a hospital. But since her experience on the Youth Council, she decided to work with teens at risk in Petach Tikva. She feels that if she is capable, and should take responsibility to do something more challenging.

Now I have finished my "reporting," and want to add a personal note.

If Lital is representative of the teens on the Youth Council, I think that TIPS can be proud of what the group has succeeded in doing. It has taken them longer to do some activities than we had expected, but they are working as a group, learning and growing from the experience, and leading the teens.

Sports and Structure turn potential delinquents into Leaders in Kiryat Malachi

In mid-July, at Dvora Attal's suggestion, I met with Elad, the head staff person at Moadon Shahar, where the Poel Tel Aviv program for 7th and 8th graders is centered.

Elad is the head staff person (1/3 time officially but works much more) for this program.   He moved to Kiryat Malachi after getting married.  Moadon Shahar is supported by Better Together and 2 other organizations. It was begun 2 years ago to reduce vandalism in town. During the school year, the program is run on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. in the AMIT school, and includes 35 boys and girls in the Herzl, Weitzman, and Kibbutz Galiot neighborhoods. Over 75% are Ethiopian-Israeli. They do meet in the summer too.

The program is built around 3 factors, each one lasting an hour:
1. Studies: For one hour the youth sit in groups of 5 together with a “teacher” who helps them with homework. If they don’t have homework, the “teacher” supplies educational activities to improve their study habits and basic skills. The teachers are volunteers, some through a special army program, some in National Service, and a few local people who want to help.

2. Planned Activities: The activities revolve around a month theme. For example, one might be the “value of giving.” The youth plan activities and carry them out. Activities have included visiting people in the hospital, helping younger children with homework, etc.

3. Sports: This is the HaPoel Tel Aviv component supported by TIPS. The youth hear lectures about qualities that make a good team player and practice them as they play together. They learn good behavior on court, problems some of the pros have had with drugs and alcohol and how that hurt their careers. They go to Tel Aviv to the Wolfson Center (where the HaPoel Tel Aviv professional soccer team plays) twice a year to see games (around Hanukkah and at the end of the year).

Elad said that the HaPoel Tel Aviv program pull the youth into the entire program in the first place. Without this incentive, many would not have come. The entire program is very structured, and Elad works with the Poel Tel Aviv coordinator to make a master plan for the year. He also meets with Moriah (and sometimes Dvora) to advise her of what is happening in his program and also to coordinate with other “clubs” in town.

I asked Elad how the 35 youth were chosen. He said that this program is, in part, a continuation of the Tzeva program (Tzi-irim Bonim Atid—youth build a future), which is also connected to Better Together is the poorer neighborhoods in town listed above.

He said that at the beginning of the year, he meets with Meirav, the coordinator fo the Tzeva program and picks out a number of kids in that program who would benefit from continuing in the Moadon Shahar. He also works with the counselors at the schools to see who are the most needy and are not already in another support program.

The program has a very strong structure with a clear list of behavior rules. The rules are reinforced with special HaPoel Tel Aviv sports cards that are colored green, yellow and red. The youth get green cards for good behavior, yellow for warnings, and red for penalties. The youth have to have a minimum of yellow cards and an accumulation of green cards in order to go on field trips, including visiting a hospital, etc.

Elad told me of one boy that started the year in an aggressive manner, hitting other kids. He got yellow cards and then red ones. At that point, he was sent out and the team met with his parents and with him at home. The boy was borderline ADD. The staff also realized that something at home must be the cause of part of his behavior, so they worked with the family and the boy. It took lots of intensive work, with small rewards for good behavior, but after two weeks, there was a big change in his behavior.

Last July, about 8 to 10 of the 35 participants were not passing some of their classes, and without improvement would not have moved up to the next grade. The club ran an intense academic “marathon” for that small group, focusing on math, English, and Hebrew, and by the end when they were retested, all passed and moved up to the next grade.

The youth that were delinquents-in-training when they entered this program have turned their behavior around. They no longer drink or smoke and commit petty crimes. They actually look for things to do in their neighborhoods, like picking up garbage and carrying or shopping for groceries for the elderly.

The participants have their own soccer team and they took part in a one-day tournament on the home court of HaPoel Tel Aviv on March 26 against other groups supported by the same program of HaPoel Tel Aviv. The boys were very proud that they took 3rd place nationally. The girls took 5th place!  The article below was in the local KM weekly newspaper and includes a photo of the local boys' team that took 3rd place.

The youth this past year were very connected to a soldier named Miri in the Better Together program that volunteer at their club. She was like a big sister to many of them. When she was about to leave, they threw a surprise party for her, one that they totally planned by themselves. (While this may not seem unusual in the US, it is remarkable that young teens do such a thing in Israel.)

In the 2 years that Elad has worked with this program, he has seen a tremendous change in the behavior in the participants. Their grades have improved; they’ve learned to work well in a group setting; their way of thinking has become more positive and responsible, and they very much want to help their peers and younger kids do the same. The city has seen a reduction in vandalism too which they in part attribute to the success of this program. The youth are proactive with their peers and younger kids. If they see kids smoking and drinking, they will go up to them and say that they used to drink or smoke, but that they have changed their behavior and it has brought them many positive results.

Many of the participants move up the 9th and 10th grade group that also works with HaPoel Tel Aviv.

Submitted by Dina Tanners, July 30, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Phoenix 10-year-old gets school supplies for Kiryat Malachi in lieu of birthday gifts

Most ten-year-olds enjoy having a birthday party and getting gifts from family and friends.  But a special young man in Phoenix had other ideas.  Evan T., his parents, and 7-year-old sister were supposed to go on a trip with his local Jewish Federation to Israel in late spring.  However, the trip got postponed until next year. 
Evan had been excited about going to Israel since he was in kindegarten, so of course he was disappointed when the trip got postponed,  but he still thought about Israel..  If he could not go this year, something from him would definitely go.

He decided that instead of birthday gifts, he would ask friends and family to bring school and craft supplies to be used at a school in Kiryat Malachi, one of our Israeli partnership communities.

Since his birthday is in the July after school gets out, he had an early party.  He asked everyone to bring school/art supplies for one of the elementary school in our partnership region.  He will be entering 5th grade in the fall. He attends one of the Jewish Day Schools here in Phoenix, with his 7 1/2 year old sister Sarah. He loves to draw, write stories, and build with LEGOs.

A number of people got him the supplies he asked for:  crayons, markers, colored pencils, scissors, drawing paper, coloring books, beads, yarn, etc.    Some donated money, and he went shopping with his family to get more supplies. 

In June, he met Dalia Burgana, the co-chair of TIPS, and Shalom Eldar, another lay leader of the TIPS steering committee, both from Kiryat Malachi.  He gave them a duffle-ful of items to take.

  Because of baggage limitation, they were brought to Israel by Dina Tanners, the other co-chair of TIPS, from Seattle, and delivered to the HaAchim school in early July.  HaAchim was the first elementary school to open in Kiryat Malachi, and together with the city just celebrated its 60th anniversary.

sign at school:  60 years of Achim school in Kiryat Malachi

  Ofra Yishaya, the principal of the school, was delighted to receive the gifts and would be in contact with Evan. 

2 shelves stuffed with donations from Evan
And when Evan comes to Israel, hopefully next year in late spring, he can visit HaAchim school and meet some of the children there.

So what do you thing--Do other children in Tucson, Phoenix or Seattle in 5th or 6th grade  (or other grades) like Evan's idea?  What would they like to do to help and connect with our partnership communities of Hof Ashkelon and Kiryat Malachi?  Children are very creative.  I am sure they can come up with wonderful ideas!

Maybe Evan will be the first elementary school student with a creative idea to help strengthen the connection between kids in the US and Israel TIPS communities.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kohav Nolad, a special program of Art City, and some publicity for Art City

One project that Art City began last summer (2009) was to sponsor a local version of the Israeli TV show "Kohav Nolad" כוחב נולד   (like "American Idol" in the US) in which local talented singers compete.  The competition is open for 13 to 20 year olds.  Last summer, when the Art City initiated this program, they did allow a 12-year-old to compete, and she won the contest.  I gather she has an amazing voice.  She has sung in several different events here, including Israel Independence Day and Kiryat Malachi's amazing 60th Anniversary event, which Adam Schwartz and family (from Phoenix) attended.

There have been at least 3  auditions so far, and I attended part of one yesterday, July 19, in the music room of the MATNAS (community center).    Guy (the music director of the bands) and two or three other people were there to judge including Hila Kordana.  She has been videoing all the entrants with the video-camera donated by Ken Brandis of Tucson.

 Two of the men took turns playing a synthesizer to accompany the singers.  This day, all were female, but males had also auditioned.  One was really good, but may not come back because of family (religious) consideration.  The first singer that I heard was great.  I did not take her photo, however, because I did not want to embarrass her.  Hila came in a few minutes later and started video-ing, so I knew it was OK to take pictures.  Here are the others I listened to, many of whom joined Art City activities before Yom Haatzmaut and the 60th anniversary of the town, and participated in the events.  Some are in the production group, and Hila had not realized that they could sing!

This young woman was very shy at first but came alive as Guy coaxed her to sing loader as he played drums to accompany her.

This young woman had a powerful and emotional voice

It was interesting to see how their worked with the singers, having them try in different keys too.  One young woman had a sensual voice but had trouble staying on key.  Although they were nervous, most didn't show it.
This gal is from Kiryat Malachi and is serving in National Service (in lieu of the army) elsewhere.  She came back to town to audition.  I could see her maturity in her singing.  She is 19 and a half....and emphasized that she was not close to 20, the cutoff age!

The final audition is on July 29 at noon. 

Of the 40 or so teens auditioning for Kohav Nolad, the judges need to pick ten.  Then those ten practice before the big show in the 2nd half of August.  I wish I were here to see it.  (Hof Ashkelon is having a similar event on a smaller scale on July 27, whick I plan to go to.)

The summer edition of the local newspaper came out a few days ago, and there were more than 3 pages of articles on things for teens.  The first one below is entitled:  What can one do during vacation?
The picture below, of Art City street theater,  is a close up of the picture above in the lower right corner .

The above article is about the bands.

As a final note, the dance group (Tzuza) is working daily to prepare for the Carmiel dance festival the last week of July.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

PJ Library Comes to Israel---and Kiryat Malachi!

Today I visited a friend named Leah, now in her 11th year as director of the Beit Tzipora-Keren Wiesel program in Kiryat Malachi.  It was originally started in Ashkelon and Kiryat Malachi to give educational support to the Ethiopian-Israeli chidlren in the area. 

Leah is an amazing woman, and it was a delight to see her.  And through her, I found out that the PJ Library or Sifriyat Pijama  ספריית פיג'מה  in Hebrew, is now in Israel too as of the September, 2009.

Here is the website of the program, which is also in Hebrew and Russian:

Harold Greenspoon, the founder of the PJ Library, has a passion for the Jewish people and for Israel.  Although Israeli children often know more about Jewish holidays than their American counterparts, Grinspoon discovered in conversations with Israeli educators that Israeli children are often unaware of what Judaism has to say about universal values.  On his trips to Israel, he heard that most children do not have books at home, especially those outside the center of the country.  He decided to start the program with 3000 kindergarteners, mostly from underpriviledged families in the north of Israel.  Unlike the US program, it cannot be subscribed to individually but is subsidized locally in Israel.
If you know the program in the US, you will see that the application is identical pretty much to the one in the US:

Leah found out about the program and was allowed to bring it to her 70 first graders last year.  She found a pre-school teacher who is great at story telling who also was quick to adapt to the needs of first graders.  The children each got 11 (maybe 9??) books throughout the year.  The teacher created programs around the books, and asked that parents attend at least one during the year to see the excitement that the children have about them.  At the beginning of this year, the children will each make a bookshelf to take home to use for these books. 
Below you can see some of the books that were distributed this past year and the type of book shelf out of thick cardboard scraps that they will make in the fall.
What Is My Name and Who Am I?
The Legend of the Bridge
The Roosters and the Fox

The Tractor in the Sandbox

Grandpa's Bakery on the bookshelf

Closing the volunteer apartment

At the end of this month, July, 2010, TIPS will give up the apartment, the last of at least 2 apartments in Kiryat Malachi that it has rented for more than 8 years. My husband and I were the first in the previous apartment on Jabotinsky Street, and we are the last in this apartment near the end of Rashi Street, a two story, 3+ bedroom walk-up on the 3rd and 4th floors. In addition to volunteers from Tucson, Phoenix and Seattle who stayed from one to 4+ weeks, it also "hosted" young adults, mostly from our communities, in the OTZMA program, that stayed for 3 months, helping English teachers in the schools and also helping in after-school programs.   This happened for at least 5 years since 2003.  This year, for the first time 3 young men (from Washington State, Arizona, and New York) were in town for 8+ months through OTZMA  providing much needed English support in the high schools and in after-school programs. (They were also joined by three from the regular 3 month program, including one from Arizona, came also.)

The entrance to the volunteer apartment stairwell is just to the right of the blue pole.  Our green rental car is seen peeking out between 2 other cars on the right.

The people from the 3 US communities, Palm Springs, and also several of the communities of the Western Region Network, especially Orange County, greatly benefitted from their experiences in town and staying at the apartment. It gave all of us the opportunity to see Israel from a very different perspective. Once one has the opportunity to see below the surface, one can see how warm and personable the people in this town are. The Kocens from Palm Springs made lifelong friends here and are supporting a young Ethiopian-Israeli woman as she has succeeded in raising her skills and studying to be a physician. Adam Schwartz was here with his family in June for almost 2 weeks and said that his experience here gave all of them a totally different view of Israel, one he never got on previous visits, while staying in hotels. One Otzmanik from Seattle  (Mindy Goldberg) came back to Israel a while after her program, studied here, and is now working for Yedid in its Jerusalem office.  Ira knows of at least 3 others from OTZMA who have made aliya.   My husband and I too have been changed by our opportunities to stay in the apartments and volunteer in town. It has not necessarily been an easy place to volunteer but it has always been a heartwarming experience.

In both apartments, the next door neighbors were delightful. Aliza and Haim Elimelech plied the volunteers with food and especially with home-made challot on Fridays. Tami, the current neighbor across the hall who is a widow with grown children and young grandchildren, is very friendly and helpful. For example, she showed me where the fuse box was when our power went off (I had the dryer, hot pot and air conditioner going at once, and it was too much for the circuitry) and I lent her a lighter when her matches were wet and she couldn't start her gas burner.
Most of the furniture (beds, sofa, chairs, eating table, kitchen utensils) came from a donation warehouse and individuals like Dvora who donated a TV, but others were purchased, including a double-bed and chest of drawers, a refrigerator (after 2+ years of using very used ones), a washer and dryer, and an air conditioner. Many volunteers donated items, including a toaster, hot pot, microwave, pots, books, a DVD player, a wall clock, a CD/radio/casette player, and framed pictures to decorate the walls.
We are beginning to distribute the items. The newer air conditioner will go to the office in Kiryat Malachi of the director of the Young Adult program.

The office is on the second floor of the Naamat/Yedid building where volunteer programs in the city now are coordinated. This part of the building opened in the fall after Portland donated the funds to fix the outside stairs and to help renovate the 2nd floor, together with the city and the Tucson Federation.

The refrigerator will go to an apartment in the Weitzman neighborhood where soldiers live who work in the "Better Together" program.  Their fridge has just died.  (Big appliances here are much more expensive relatively here than in the US.)
The youth club in the small Matnas on Sun Diego Street (where the Ethiopian Israeli WEAP group used to meet) has gotten the DVD player, the CD/radio player, and some games,  the TV antenna, and will also get the clock and a very cute foot stool with red velvet on the top, donated by Ann Barnake of Portland. (She also donated the framed watercolors that adorn the walls.)

The microwave, which was donated by the Ellenhorn family of Seattle, is going to the volunteer center, and the refrigerator to the Beit HaRishonim where the Youth Council meets.

 The dryer and the washer (if the latter can still be fixed without extra cost) will go immediately to a family in need as will, most likely, the stove. And on the last working day of the month, movers will take the rest of the furniture, etc. to a storage area for the social services department to distribute.

Although we will no longer have a volunteer program in town,  whenever people from our US partnership region want to comefor half day  to see our projects and meet some local people, our representative Ira Keren would be happy to show them around.