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Israeli youth from Kiryat Shmona singing.
photo by Rhonda Spivak


left to right: Sharon Wolchuck and Marjorie Blankstein
photo by Rhonda Spivak


Hodiel Ben-Anat from Ramat Korazim school with Paula MacPherson from Brock Corydon. This reporter spotted MacPherson dancing to the song "Mashiach Mashiach." I figured that if she was singing and dancing to this song, maybe it was a sign that Mashiach was really coming!
photo: Rhonda Spivak

 
PARTNERSHIP 2000 PARTY- ALL THE WORLD IS A VERY NARROW BRIDGE

by Rhonda Spivak, March 30, 2011

Last  Monday, March 21,  I had the pleasure of  attending the  “Taste of Israel” Partnership 2000 Party for  Families” a partnership program between high school students from Gray Academy and  Danciger high school in  Kiryat Shmona. The Israeli youth from Kiryat Shmona were here for about a  past week, and the event gave me a sense of the incredible energy and enthusiasm that the students and their teachers bring to this partnership.(Our students are now in  Kiryat Shmona  as part of this exchange program). 

At the event, and both Marjorie Blankstein and  Sharon  Wolchuck who had been involved initially  as "pioneers" when the first Partnership program (P2K) was initiated.

The highlight of the evening for me as when the students from Kiryat Shmona and  Winnipeg joined together to sing and dance to  Hebrew songs. The songs were selected by one of the Israeli teachers, who led the singing. The first three selections were Shiru Shir le Shalom, Adon Olam, and  Gesher Kzar Me’od. The first song is a song for peace.  The second is our prayer to the Master of the universe. The third is a song that I and my classmates learned many years ago from Izzy Marmorstein at Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate, which has remained one of my favourite songs to this day. The words to it in English are as follows: “All the world is a very narrow bridge, but the main thing to recall is have no fear at all.” (Kol Ha’Olam Choolo Gesher Ktzar Me’Od, VeHa’eekar  VeHa’eekar Lo Lefached Klal.)

It dawned on me just how unbelievable it was to see  young people who live in Kiryat Shmona, right on Israel’s border with Lebanon,  singing a song for peace—even when by all accounts Hezbollah has essentially taken over Lebanon, is a satellite of Iran, and now has more sophisticated weapons than it did in the Second Lebanon War in 2006, notwithstanding the  UN peacekeeping force on the border.  Tensions on the northern border remain high. I began to think how we in Winnipeg have it so much easier than these young people in Kiryat Shmona, which made me think of the second song. Adon Olam, Master of the Universe-- we can only hope and pray that that the song for peace that these youngsters are singing will be answered—and if not peace, then at least quiet—no missiles being fired at them, please.

And then  I thought of the third song they were singing—“All the world is a very narrow bridge, but the main thing to recall is have no fear at all.” The P2K progam is all about  creating a “living bridge” between the partnership communities.

But the song, seems especially suited to those who live in Kiryat Shmona—where the main thing to recall is have no fear at all.


MEMORIES OF RAMAT KORAZIM


Brock Corydon elementary school which partners with Ramat Korazim School  near Rosh Pina  also participated in the Partnership 2000 party.

At the Taste of Israel Event I had a chance to have a visit with a teacher from Ramat Korazim, Hodiel Ben Anat, who I got to know when my children and I spent almost a week at Ramat Korazim school in June of 2008(my children went to the classes). Seeing her filled me with memories of that week.

We had only planned to be in the Rosh Pina  area for three days, but while playing soccer at recess on our first day at  Ramat Korazim my son Dov fell and managed to cut his knee open quite severely on a stone, such that poor Hodiel was driving us to the nearest hospital in Tzfat within minutes. I hadn’t been to Tzvat for over a decade, and while I had hoped to return for a visit, this wasn’t what I had had in mind. Usually my husband (a doctor) looks after the children’s injuries but he wasn’t in Israel yet, so I had to figure out the  various bandages and  gauzes and  change Dov’s dressings, in addition to figuring out what it was he would do to occupy himself for days while he couldn’t move.  Dov wouldn’t be able to bend his knee for about a week.  As a result, we extended our stay and  Dov went to school  with crutches—and sat at the front o f the class  with his leg up leaning on another desk so he didn’t bend his knee. We all figured that it was better for Dov to be with other children than be bored by himself.

Dov became a model student (once he was in position he couldn’t move for the rest of the day pretty well). Hodiel’s son Rom, didn’t leave the class for recess and lunch hour and instead played board games and cards with Dov and the two really bonded.  We ended up staying on Moshav Korazim at a bed and breakfast for three nights as Hodiel found us a nearby medical specialist who could check Dov’s knee daily to ensure he would be in condition to travel back to our apartment in Netanya.  Since Dov couldn’t use public transportation, and we didn’t have a vehicle, the only way we could go anywhere was by taxi (with Dov lying with his leg straight in the back of the taxi).  The problem was that there was only one taxi driver in Moshav Korazim-- Benny. Everything was fine if Benny happened to be in the area, but if he wasn’t, we weren’t going anywhere. Sure enough, one day, when I thought we’d pick up a few extra groceries Benny decided to take off and go fishing—  we didn’t move for hours. When he finally returned and picked us up, I asked him what he caught. His response, “ Nothing. There’s hardly any water left in the Kinneret. I don’t know why I thought there’d be fish.”

Of course, the silver lining in my son’s injury is was that we got to spend time with Hodiel and her family, and stay in Moshav Korazim, which both my children enjoyed ( every child in the Moshav was eager to show my daughter Leah,(an animal lover)  their pet goats, cats, dogs, and miscellaneous, while Dov played board games  and chess with Rom  for several days straight.

We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast  in Moshav Korazim (which is near the Golan Heights) that had two adjoining suites and a common porch and an  above ground pool.  The first day was great as we had the place to ourselves and Leah and Rom swam while Dov sat near by with his leg up.  But the next day after an outing, when Benny dropped us off, my children’s jaws dropped when they saw a man and a woman kissing in “their pool.”  They asked me what was going on.

The couple on seeing us proceeded to leave the pool and go into their room. My kids (grades 4 and 5 at the time) insisted on sitting out in the porch playing cards, (right in front of the couple’s door) and I gently tried to coax them to sit elsewhere. About two hours later the couple left, and Dov asked why the couple didn’t stay for the night if they had paid for the room?

It was only later when I was in Tel-Aviv, when I  told the story to  my Tel-Aviv friends that I  got “an insiders’ view of Israel.

My friend said, “Of course, didn’t you know -- Israelis go to the Golan Heights to have   “stootzim”? ” ( A “stootz” is an affair ).

I thought to myself  “Now I know why Israelis always say we won’t go down from the Golan.”

 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


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