Inbal Attal-Cohen grew up with the partnership, starting when it included 15 communities in the US. For a number of years, American volunteers came to Kiryat Malachi to help teach English in a summer camp called the Kefiada. For several years, Inbal was a junior counselor at that camp, and many of the America volunteers stayed in her family’s home. That was Inbal’s introduction to the partnership.
When she was 17 in 2001, she went to Seattle as a summer camp counselor for almost two months, the first year of the program. She worked both at the Sephardic Day Camp with Racheli Hemmat and also at the JCC. There were four other teens with her and an escort. From that first experience, she learned that she had a “family” in the United States and how important it was to be in touch with American Jews because they shared a common destiny. She has many good memories from her experience in Seattle. People who didn’t know her and the others warmly opened their homes to the group. It took them two or three days to settle in, but then the experience was amazing. She was there before Facebook and Skype existed, so it was not easy to stay connected electronically after the visit. Now with such possibilities, the connections are stronger.
Inbal feels that the People-to-People programs are the core of the TIPS partnership and that without it, no real partnership exists. Inbal has a sister and brother and nephews in California, and she says that what she does through people-to-people programs in the partnership is what she hopes American Jews do for her family in the U.S.
After high school, Inbal entered the army, becoming and officer and serving for 3 years and not the standard 24 months. After the army, she entered university. While there, she was a coordinator for a community involvement program sponsored by TIPS. While a student, she met Arye Levy, who at that time was the manager of the TIPS partnership. She interviewed and was hired as the Western Region Network (WRN) People-to-People coordinator in 2007 and has had that job since then. She also supervises the Over –and- Above projects for the WRN.
In 2008, Inbal got several local young adults together to begin to work on ideas for a program to benefit young adults. In the spring of 2009, the TIPS partnership approved funding for a staff person to begin a Young Adult program in Hof Ashkelon and Kiryat Malachi, and Inbal was hired for the job. A leadership group of 15 was assembled and under Inbal’s coordination/guidance, an amazing program has been set up in Kiryat Malachi, creating a variety of initiatives in the city for Young Adults. Her management skills, ability to work well with others, and her drive to succeed have made this program successful and has brought the city to the table in project discussions.
Inbal said that she would not have ben where she is today without the partnership. Now 15 years after her introduction to the partnership, Inbal really has left her mark on it. She has been recognized by the Jewish Agency for her amazing abilities and has just been hired to start a new position at the activism unit in the Jewish Agency as a young adult project manager.
We wish her the best in her future, are excited to see where she will lead this project in other places in Israel, and look forward to hearing more wonderful things from her.