Miles Apart But Close at Heart

Jun 8, 2020

We 💙 Ramat HaNegev
Ramat HaNegev is thousands of mile away, and its residents speak another language, but the partnership between the community in the highlands of the Negev and JEWISHcolorado is as lively as ever. Not even a pandemic can keep us apart.

In fact, our Israel Emissary Itai Divinsky has used the crisis as an opportunity to create even tighter bonds. We all live on Zoom now; why not take advantage of the technology to learn more about each other, to gather together in a communal space, and to share tips and tricks for weathering the viral storm.

In March, as the situation was unfolding in Colorado, Itai organized a Zoom meet-up for members of both communities, and participants shared their experiences, the difficulties they faced, and the ways that they were able to embrace change. On Yom Hazikaron, Ramat HaNegev native Gad Goldwaser presided over a webinar during which he shared the story of his brother, who was killed in 2006 while on patrol on the northern border with Lebanon. Celebrants who took part in the recent community-wide Shavuot heard Noa Nofar, another friend from Ramat HaNegev, talk about her experience teaching Torah in a secular setting to a diverse group of high school students. Noa shared that the most common question she gets is, Do you believe in god?

JEWISHcolorado’s leadership has been in regular touch with Ramat HaNegev Mayor Eran Doron and our Partnership Coordinator Jared White. And last week, the COVID-19 Community Response Fund allocated money to help small businesses in Ramat HaNegev navigate these extraordinary times.

Itai is now hard at work dreaming up even more ways to connect Jewish Coloradans with the people of Ramat HaNegev. The more we learn about each other, the more we discover we have in common. And not just the fact that we’re all stuck at home—home cooking and home schooling and homeworking. We may be an ocean and a desert away from each other, but we’re closer than ever.

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