by Mary Sue Grossman, Associate Executive Director, The Center for Jewish Education
Over 200 people were launched into the spirit of celebration of Yom HaAtzmaut by the performance of Bein Hameytarin, a performing group which visited Omaha as part of Partnership2Gether. On Sunday, April 22, the story of Israel was shared through music and dance, presented by six talented young adults, all from Akko, Israel. This special show was created for the communities in the Partnership 2Gether Central Consortium – a group of 14 U.S. cities of which Omaha is a part – and told the story of Israel, from its inception to the present day. The group also performed in Des Moines, Dallas and Austin.
The group members – Nitzan Lankry, Atalia Malka, Lilah Eliash, Ofir Hadad, Oded Sabag, Yahav Saban and Maor Asulin – are graduates of the drama program in “Ort-Akko” high school who have continued to create and perform together. They sing, compose music, dance, act, write and direct. Hosting the visitors were Patty and Steve Nogg, Roni Reiter-Palmon and Ophir Palmon, and Debbie Denenberg.
“The group members were simply delightful and the performance was wonderful” commented Zoe Riekes, chairman of the Partnership2Gether Central Consortium. “I am so proud of Omaha’s strong involvement in Partnership. Presenting this type of programming to our community highlights the talents found in the Partnership program and continues to strengthen the personal relationships between the Western Galilee and Omaha.”
Also highlighted during the day was the “Shining Stars” display, another Partnership project. Conceived for participants to create a visual representation of their contribution to the world, the project was enthusiastically embraced by over 30 groups in Omaha sharing their creative talents included residents and staff of the Rose Blumkin Jewish Home, students from Friedel Jewish Academy, children from the Pennie Z. Davis Child Development Center, students from Beth El Synagogue and Beth Israel Synagogue, teens from BBYO, and several departments on the Jewish Federation campus.
“Seeing the wide range of creative talents used in creating the Stars was simply great” said Bette Kozlen, a member of Omaha’s Partnership committee. “Ranging from handprints of preschool students to beautiful embroidery from residents at the Blumkin Home, each one was unique.”
Stars were also created by children in our Partnership area in Israel and sent to Omaha as a gift. Omaha’s Shining Stars artwork will be on display in the JCC Gallery until mid-May and will then be sent to the Western Galilee. At the end of the school year, exhibitions of the Stars will be held at a number of centers in the region. Additionally, a photo album representing all the Stars will be created and distributed to all participating communities.
The Bein Hameytarim performance and the Shining Stars exhibit were made possible through the efforts of Omaha’s Partnership 2Gether Committee whose goals are to promote people-to-people understanding between of America and Israel. Partnership 2Gether is presented through the Center for Jewish Education and the Jewish Federation of Omaha. For more information on Partnership, please call 402.334.6445.