Tuesday, March 24, 2009

We Thank the Federations

Dear Arad/Tamar Partnership 2000 Federations,

As our time here in Arad is quickly coming to an end and we move on to the next part of Otzma we would like to sincerely thank you for making this opportunity possible for us. For the last three months we have been living and volunteering in Arad. We have volunteered in many different locations that the partnership helps fund. Some of the locations include Na’amat which is a city day care with a lot of children from the welfare department, Tzelti, the Ethiopian youth center, Beit Gilad the senior day center, Youth Futures, the public high school and Ye’elim-Ofrarim, one of the public elementary schools. We are enjoying our volunteering and the community so much and it is going to be incredibly hard for us to leave. We would like take this opportunity to share with you some of our personal experiences from being in Arad.

Aliza has been volunteering with the young children of Arad in both Na’amat and Ye’elim-Ofarim and has enjoyed very much being able to work with the children especially teaching the Kindergarteners at Ye’elim-Ofarim English. It gave Aliza great joy to see the Kindergarteners at Ye’elim-Ofarim learn English songs, letters and colors. The big project Aliza did with the Kindergarteners was teaching them how to write their names in English and that was a very big accomplishment for both her and the students. She feels very proud being able to leave Arad knowing that she really made a difference in the lives of these children. At Na’amat it has been wonderful for her to be able to help with these children who so desperately need the attention and love of another adult. She will truly miss both of these places and all the people she has met as a result of her volunteering.

During Ilene’s time in Arad she has volunteered across generation lines, spending time with teens at Tzelti, the Ethiopian Youth center while volunteering at Beit Gilad, Arad’s senior day center. Volunteering at Tzelti has been a meaningful experience for Ilene, learning more about the Ethiopian culture and partaking in an organization that invests in Arad’s youth for a better future. Ilene has especially enjoyed the bonds she has created with the teens through English activities, conversations, and partaking in the Tzelti band project. Beit Gilad is another volunteering experience that has really made Ilene’s time in Arad significant. There she has conducted English classes for eager seniors wanting to learn English, in order to talk to their grandchildren in the United States or to English speaking tourists in Arad. A highlight for Ilene was when everyone in the class was able to have a small conversation in English. In addition Ilene has taught Hannah, a resident, how to use the internet so she can contact her family around the world. Ilene’s life has truly been enriched by the people and experiences she has had volunteering in Arad, and she will greatly miss her home away from home.

We would also like to share with you the support and help that we have received from the Arad side of the partnership. They have helped us to make Arad more than just another part of the Otzma program but an extension of our home community. We each received adoptive families which have taken us in and helped us to make the adjustment easier. Ofra Nathan Bezalel, the living bridge coordinator, has become like a second mother to us helping us in times of need and giving us guidance throughout our Otzma experience. Our time in Arad is one that we will remember for our entire lives and we are very grateful to you for giving us the chance to have this life altering experience. We hope that others are able to have this same opportunity in the future.


Aliza Gases- Middlesex County/Monmouth County

Ilene Bloom- Delaware

Friday, March 13, 2009

Kefiada 2009

Kefiada volunteers enter a rewarding and challenging experience both working and playing in Israel. The experience includes teaching English to Israeli children, living with Israelis, learning about Israel, the people and the culture, through people-to-people relationships, connections and friendships.

Whether this is your first visit to Israel or have visited many times before, our experience has shown that participation in Kefiada will surely be a wonderful and memorable summer.

Kefiada provides American Jewish young adults the opportunity to have a real impact on Israeli society through their daily interaction with the campers and their families while exploring the beauty, complexity and vitality of their Partnership 2000 region and Israel.

Participation in Kefiada is based upon acceptance by the applicant’s local United Jewish Federation and final acceptance by the Jewish Agency for Israel.

What is Kefiada?

Kefiada is an English speaking day camp in Israel in your Partnership 2000 region. The campers are from the local Israeli region and you are the counselors from the partnered community abroad.

Kefiada assists Israeli children to master Basic English language skills in a camp setting while enjoying creative and fun camp activities. Very similar to the kinds of camp experiences in which you participated in the USA, but this time the campers’ mother tongue is Hebrew.

English and the skills you can help teach will be essential to these children as they begin to compete and interact in today’s world. In addition, Kefiada is one of the best People-to-People programs, strengthening the “living bridge” between you and Israel.

What is Partnership 2000?

The Jewish Agency’s Israel Department together with the United Jewish Communities and Keren Hayesod launched Partnership 2000 in 1995. This innovative program links Jews in Israel and the Diaspora in an effort to promote Jewish continuity and develop Israel’s priority areas – the Negev, Galilee and Central Israel.

Partnership 2000 offers Diaspora communities an opportunity for direct involvement in developing Israel’s peripheries. The Negev and Galilee hold more than two-thirds of Israel’s land reserves, yet only house 17% of the population.

To date, 43 regions have been matched with over 550 Diaspora communities. Nearly every region combines urban centers with neighboring rural areas. The principle categories for intervention are immigrant absorption, population growth, job creation and human needs. People-to-People involvement is the heart of Partnership 2000.

How many American volunteers will be sent to the region in Israel this summer?

Depending upon the budget, 4-20 American volunteers are sent to each region in Israel.

How old are the Israeli campers?

The campers are usually in grades 4-7.

Am I the only counselor in the group?

In most camps, an Israeli co-counselor (Madatzim) who has been trained to work with Kefiada will work along side of you. Madatzim are usually 18 years old, graduates of high school and awaiting entry into the Israeli army.

Am I in charge of the camp?

No. Kefiada volunteers are group counselors who are responsible for the well being and activities of a group of approximately 15 Israeli campers. Every Kefiada is sponsored by the local Community Center or Regional Council in Israel as well as Partnership 2000. The camp itself is directed by the local Kefiada Camp Director who is assisted by both the Jewish Agency’s Partnership 2000 local staff as well as the local Community Center and/or Regional Council staff.

In addition, many of the communities have a local Gesher L’Kesher (Living Bridge) coordinator who is responsible for the well-being and extra-curricular activities of the American volunteers in the region.

What does a typical day at Kefiada look like?

(this will vary from region to region)

7:30 a.m. Arrival to Camp

8:00 a.m. Camp Day Begins
Camp schedules are based on theme days such as food day, water day, American day, animal day, etc. During the day the activities that you develop are related to the theme including vocabulary words, songs, games, snacks, art and crafts projects, trips, drama, story telling, etc.

1:00 p.m. Camp Day Ends
Lunch followed by a summary meeting which often includes reviewing the next day’s theme and activities.

4:00 p.m. Free Evening.

During some afternoons and evenings during the summer, the P2K Living Bridge coordinator will plan trips, hikes and site seeing, visits with local Government officials, and interesting experiences. Participation in these activities is required of all Kefiada volunteers.

Where do I live during Kefiada?

Volunteers will live with either an Israeli host family in their local region where in most cases there will be at least one member of the family who speaks English, or, in some regions apartments are rented for the Kefiada volunteers in the region (either in the city, on a kibbutz or in an absorption center.) In this case, Kefiada volunteers will also have an adopted Israeli family in the local region.

These kinds of housing opportunities afford volunteers the unique experiences of living in Israel in an authentic environment, getting to know the people and contributing first hand to strengthening the ties that bind Israel and North America.

What kind of qualifications do I need?

First, Kefiada volunteers are Jewish young adults between the ages of 19-25 who have completed at least one year of college and who come from or study in one of the Partnership 2000 communities hosting Kefiada this summer in Israel (but not exclusively.)

It is helpful if Kefiada volunteers are qualified, trained counselors who have experience working with children in camp settings and/or youth movements. In addition, have exhibited leadership skills, creativity and flexibility.

What training is provided?
All Kefiada volunteers participate in training seminars, sometimes both in North America and Israel. This is MANDATORY for all Kefiada volunteers.
There will be a mandatory seminar from a Thursday –Saturday night (after Shabbat) in Jerusalem for all Partnership 2000 Kefiada volunteers.
How do I apply?

The first step in applying is to thoroughly read and familiarize yourself with the information in the registration pack.

· Contact your local federation representative (either home federation or school federation) for specific information about your Partnership 2000 Kefiada.
· If you’re not sure how to connect to your local federation, or want further information please contact the director at your Partnership 2000 office in Israel:

Phone: 972-8-9950839
Fax: 972-8-9950801
Email: shimonsh@jafi.org .il

Third, the following forms must be submitted:
· Registration form fully completed (three copies)
· Photographs (2 with name written on the back and stapled to registration form)
· Photocopy of the passport personal details page
· Medical Form (mandatory!)
· Additional letters from doctors/specialists if required
· 2 recommendation letters filled in by non-family members


All correspondence regarding registration should be directed to your Jewish Federation Kefiada coordinator or Racheli Ben-Lulu at JAFI.
· All forms must be filled in accurately with the maximum of information provided. If you do not have all the information, please note what is missing and send it as the information is received.
· Please note that completion of the registration and medical forms does not necessarily mean acceptance to Kefiada.
· Applicants are obliged to attend all interviews and orientation meetings both in the USA and Israel.
· Orientation dates will be given to you at a later date by your federation.
· The JAFI Israel Department in Israel has the right to send you home at any stage during the program if your behavior is deemed unacceptable.
We reserve the right without prior notice to decline any application or cancel any booking.