Birthright Arizona Visits TIPS Region, January 2011
Thirty eight students from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University visited Hof Ashkelon as part of their birthright/israel trip sponsored by the Jewish Federations. The students visited Nitzan Bet, the temporary home for more than 1,400 former residents of Gaza who were evicted by the Israeli Government in 2005. The students took up 12 stations for a sports day planned by the local community center. Over 60 elementary school aged children came after school to play hockey, basketball, ring toss, boffle, catch with a variety of instruments, and to have their faces made up and engage in crafts. The children had a great time, almost as great as the Arizona students who were able to take a break from constant touring and enjoy time playing with children. Thanks to the staff of the community center and the Hof Ashkelon staff that helped make this happen.
Kiryat Malachi & Hof Ashkelon in ISRAEL, in partnership with TIPS - Tucson, Seattle & Phoenix in the U.S. Working together, to make a difference.
TIPS is one of more than 45 partnerships developed by the Jewish Agency for Israel to help world Jewish communities connect to Israel as partners working together and not in the traditional donor-recipient relationship. The Jewish Federations of Tucson, Phoenix, and Seattle form the TIPS partnership, which works with Kiryat Malachi and the rural region of Hof Ashkelon. Several Jewish Federations in California also have a relationship with those two areas through the Western Region Network.
Kiryat Malachi is an immigrant town of about 23,000 people, located an hour’s drive from both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Today more than 25% of the town is from Ethiopia. Hof Ashkelon is a rural district of stretching from just north of the Gaza Strip to south of Ashdod with 13,500 residents in 19 moshavim and kibbutzim and a “temporary” town of Gaza émigrés. The communities closest to Gaza have often been targets of mortars, missiles, and even land attacks.
The Israeli and American members of the joint steering committee decided in 2006 to place the emphasis of their core budget funds on teenagers in order to change the image of the region and to instill in them a pride for their home communities.
The teens themselves created the programs that are now being implemented, which include a first ever regional sports league, a performing arts program in cooperation with the national “happening” - Festival B'Shekel, youth leadership regional clubs, leadership taught through sports, and teen work groups renovating public areas.
The remaining 1/3 of the budget is for exchanges and interaction of people in the 3 US and 2 Israeli communities. Programs include a joint teen trip for the summer of 2009, teen counselor exchanges, an apartment in Kiryat Malachi for Americans volunteering in the town, school e-mail exchanges and visits, and an art contest and a calendar featuring the winning entries.P2K is not just a list of wonderful projects. We work together to help promote the values of volunteerism, accountability, empowerment, cooperation, and mutuality, as well as the creation of lifelong friendships. Members of our communities are invited to participate.
For more information, contact Adam Tennen in Phoenix (480 634 4900 x 1102), Moshe Babel-Pour in Tucson (520-299-3000 x191), and Dina Tanners in Seattle (firstname.lastname@example.org).