Like most college freshmen, Alejandra Fishman arrived on the campus of Kent State University feeling equal parts excited and nervous. The native of Puerto Rico chose Kent State University to study at the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising. Moving to Northeast Ohio for college was a change for her, but it felt like home immediately after stepping on campus.
Tomer Oren fought on reserve duty during during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014. While he returned home physically sound, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. Months later, his daughter was sent to the ICU for a life-threatening condition. Oren participated in The Jewish Agency's Beit Shean/Valley of Springs - Cleveland Partnership within Partnership2Gether (P2G), The Jewish Agency’s strategic initiative that connects the Jewish people by creating enduring relationships between Israel and Jewish communities of the Diaspora. “When I look back at these two episodes — how P2G helped me recover from the shock of battle, and helped to save my daughter’s life — I understand very well the miracle that happened to me and my family.”
I first heard about the Masa Israel Teaching Fellowship (MITF) just before I graduated from Ohio University. Joining Hillel on campus was my first real Jewish experience; I felt a new sense of pride in myself and my heritage. That also pushed me onto the path I am now. After graduating, I reached out to the Federation and they encouraged me to participate in the program in Beit Shean, Cleveland’s sister city. I am so happy I did! It’s such a unique experience and to be able to live in Beit Shean – not many people get to do that.
Before the Jewish Federations of North America’s annual general assembly in Tel Aviv began, incoming Jewish Federation of Cleveland President Erika Rudin-Luria shared how the gap between North American Jews and Israel can be bridged during a panel in front of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.
Molly Kazan has always treasured her Jewishness. Born in Cincinnati, Molly moved to Cleveland during middle school and attended Agnon (now Mandel JDS), a Federation beneficiary agency. That time in her life is something she’ll never forget. “My time in Cleveland was very formative,” Molly said. “Agnon instilled in me such a passion and such a drive to understand my Jewish identity and serve within the Jewish community and really helped me be excited about who I am.”
Where once lay the battered husk of an abandoned army base in the heart of Beit Shean, Israel, now grows a beautiful community garden for all to enjoy. This physical transformation is a perfect representation of the Jewish Federation’s lasting impact on its sister community in Israel. It had become an eye-sore for the beautiful neighborhood across the street, ignored by the residents of the community.
Israel at 70 is a community-wide celebration to mark Israel’s 70th birthday. The Jewish Federation of Cleveland, together with local synagogues, agencies, and organizations, are bringing Israel to Cleveland through a variety of arts, cultural, and educational events for all ages.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup took the soccer world by storm this summer. Itamar Nurko of Beachwood used his love of soccer in a very special way in Israel through the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Onward Israel internship program. Onward is a two-month summer internship, which allows college students and recent college grads to immerse themselves in Israeli culture – living and working in Tel Aviv, Israel.