At home and in Israel, the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando brings families together at bedtime with the PJ library program. Made possible with funding through JFGO, the PJ Library program delivers free bedtime story books to families with children under five years old. These books help teach children Jewish traditions and inspire Jewish life choices.
JFGO is thrilled to announce a new initiative that will bring the program to its sister city, Kiryat Motzkin, Israel. The program will mirror local programming in Israel and will help strengthen Jewish identity there just as it does throughout Central Florida. Through this exciting initiative named Sifriyat Pijama, 700 Israeli children will receive story books each month. This partnership was proposed by the Israel & Overseas committee and will commence with the 2012-2013 school year. JFGO has worked tirelessly for several months hand in hand with the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and the municipalities in Kiryat Motzkin to secure funding and resources in order to make this a reality. JFGO is a pioneer community for this effort as it is one of the first in the country to extend the PJ program to its Israeli sister city. This collaborative initiative will bring joy to local families as well by connecting them to the Israeli participant families through pen pal programs that will strengthen international friendships.
To strengthen our connection with Israel, we are building a long term partnership between Greater Orlando and Kiryat Motzkin to foster economic, educational, and cultural opportunities in both cities.
Partnership in Kiryat Motzkin
In its continuing effort to aid and bond with its sister city in Israel, the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando recently allocated funds toward several social service programs in Kiryat Motzkin.
The relationship is coordinated through the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Partnership 2Gether program. Carmit Gilad, P2G’s Coordinator of Projects, said steering committee chair Eyal Oren has openly expressed his “gratitude and appreciation” to the Federation for its generosity.
“All of these social and educational programs are tremendously important, and any help is very much appreciated,” Gilad said. “Moreover, [Oren] values the relationship with JFGO and invites everyone in the community to visit Kiryat Motzkin and think of it as their home in Israel.”
Programs in Kiryat Motzkin that will benefit from the JFGO’s generosity include a Young Leadership program, the MASHAL Center for Learning Improvement, and a Holocaust remembrance program.
Last year, the Young Leadership program provided services for approximately 100 teens, many of whom are considered “youths at risk.” The teens are divided into four groups, and each group has biweekly sessions that include discussions and training that emphasize leadership and empowerment.
The MASHAL Center for Learning Improvement is a new program. It is an after-school facility for students with learning and other complex disabilities. The students will be professionally diagnosed and provided with a developmental treatment program that is geared toward their specific social and academic needs.
Before Our Eyes is a Holocaust remembrance program at Kiryat Motzkin’s Mashmaut Center. The program creates an encounter between survivors and the generations that followed them. Last year, five four-hour sessions of lectures and discussions brought together approximately 50 survivors and 50 second and third generations. In an event titled “Flower to the Survivor,” soldiers presented survivors with a certificate of appreciation, followed by a performance by local dancers and musicians.
“The steering committee sees great importance in this relationship,” Gilad said, “and is willing to create more living bridges between Orlando and Kiryat Motzkin for the benefit of both communities."
About Kiryat Motzkin
Date Founded: 1934 Population: 45,000
Mayor: Haim Tzuri
Location: 15 Miles North of Haifa Tourist Attraction: Chai Park
Students Ages 3-18: 7,000
Pre-Schools and Kindergartens: 34 Elementary Schools: 6
Junior Highs: 2 High Schools: 1
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