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 The Leo Baeck Education Center reaches out in times of strife

July 2014 תמוז תשע"ד

The Leo Baeck Education Center reaches out in times of strife

As sirens of war echo throughout the country, and Israelis constantly find themselves running to shelters, The Leo Baeck Education Center, Haifa, remains dedicated in its vision of strengthening dialogue, tolerance and mutual respect within our community and Israeli society through its numerous projects and programs.

Respite for kids from the south
As missiles continue to rain down on southern Israel, Leo Baeck, in a joint initiative with the Reform Movement of Israel, warmly welcomes busloads of children from Ashdod, Ashkelon and the Bedouin village of Tel-Sheva near Beer-Sheva on a daily basis. Now, 3 weeks into Operation Protective Edge, Leo Baeck has hosted over 300 children. They delight in carefree, outdoor play in the swimming pool and sports facilities of the Leo Baeck Community and Sports Center, partake in arts-and-crafts activities, watch movies, are entertained by the likes of magicians and bouncy castles, and enjoy meals provided by Leo Baeck. Senior Leo Baeck students volunteer time from their summer vacation to be counselors and offer friendship, support and hugs during this very difficult time.

Arab-Jewish Summer Camp
Enrollment has begun for our annual Arab-Jewish Summer camp, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary. With the anticipation of over 80 Jewish and Arab children from around Haifa, this summer promises to be an opportunity for the next generation to build friendships and connections that will surpass the current conflict we are facing.

Renewing shared-existence vows at the Clore Center Ein Hayam Community Garden
With the backdrop of war in the south, Jews and Arabs from the Ein Hayam community recently gathered at the Clore Center Ein Hayam Community Garden. Over tasty food and beautiful views, they engaged in casual and meaningful dialogue, had the opportunity to reflect on current events and also strengthen their bond and commitment towards bettering their community.


Friends Forever delegation
The FFE Foundation aims at creating world peace with the next generation. This is the 5th year that Leo Baeck is involved in this international program. This year we have partnered up with the Sisters of Nazareth School in Haifa. Both schools selected 5 students.  After workshops in Israel, the group of youngsters together with 2 teachers, headed over to the USA. They are currently living together in New Hampshire for 3 weeks as they learn and develop the values and skills of leadership, team work, trust and real friendships. Together these Jewish and Arab-Christian students volunteer at shelters, visit community centers, speak at Rotary Clubs, play basketball with Downs Syndrome youth, and are constantly engaging in dialogue and bonding workshops with the objective that on their return to Haifa they will plan and carry out various projects throughout the year within Haifa.

Playing Cultures - the Jewish-Arab musical troupe at the Clore Center
This ensemble of Jewish and Arab high school students from all over Haifa, through the powerful medium of music and multi-lingual lyrics, have created a tool for bridging gaps. In its modest way, Playing Cultures continues to positively make an impact on the community at large and convey the message of hope and shared existence. Even now as war and conflict rear their ugly heads, the youngsters are proud to be recording their first album within the next few days, featuring songs that they wrote together.

Head of the Huston Jewish Federation's solidarity visit to Leo Baeck
Lee Wunsch, a long standing and dear friend of Leo Baeck, met with Dani Fesler and heard about Leo Baeck's response to the Israeli community during these very difficult times of war and conflict. They went on to visit "Beit Ligdol Tov", and met with the children who are partaking in the Beit Ligdol Tov's summer program that aims to keep children from underprivileged homes off the street by providing educational and entertaining activities throughout the summer.

From Leo Baeck with Love
Following a 48 hour Facebook campaign, initiated by Leo Baeck Students Council asking people in Haifa to donated supplies, hundreds of "goody bags" were packed by our students and sent off from Leo Baeck to IDF soldiers fighting in the South.


Ethan Habecker is an 18 year old recent grade 12 graduate and active congregant of Congregation B'nai B'rith in Santa Barbara, California.
Ethan is spending two weeks at LBEC volunteering with the youngsters at Mercaz Ruth, Beit Ligdol Tov and our PDD classes.
At the beginning of last week Ethan, with his student host, attended the funeral of a soldier killed in Gaza.
Click here to read his blog

To find out more about our projects and activities in the Leo Baeck Education Center and how you can support, please contact us on +972-4-8300571 or at dia@leobaeck.org.il
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