An environmental project matching schools here and in Israel has been honored by the Jewish Agency for Israel.
The Arad-Tamar/New Jersey-Delaware Eco Connection won an Award of Excellence for its contributions to Partnership 2000, the JAFI program that twins communities in Israel and abroad.
Bruriah High School for Girls in Elizabeth is one of six American schools taking part in Sviva Israel’s Eco Connection program, in which participants explore their resource-protecting practices and address environmental issues from Jewish, Israeli, and Zionistic perspectives.
Students from partnering schools communicate via a blog in both Hebrew and English (www.svivaisrael.org).
Bruriah joined the program as a local partner agency of the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey, which has a sister-community relationship with Israel’s Arad-Tamar region through the Partnership 2000 NJ-Delaware “cluster.”
Jewish Agency chair Natan Sharansky presented the award to federation and program officials in Israel on June 17 at the fourth annual Partnership 2000 Conference.
Bruriah students formed a partnership with peers at the Ulpana in Arad, a religious girls’ boarding school. Sviva Israel director Carmi Wisemon introduced the program in a visit to Elizabeth in December, providing source materials to members of the school’s Israel and Green Team clubs.
“The girls were very excited” by Wisemon’s visit, Bruriah principal Marcy Stern told NJJN. The program, introduced this past school year, will continue in the fall.
“The partnership has done really amazing things over the past 13 years,” said Amy Cooper, the Central federation’s associate executive vice president. With the Eco Connection, “it was very exciting for us to bring together Israeli and American students,” particularly for projects concerning the environment, she told NJJN.
She said she hopes the students who engaged in the partnership will “continue to stay in touch.”
“We really want to thank all of the students, teachers, principals, volunteers, federation, Jewish Agency, and Sviva Israel staff who helped make the Eco Connection project such a success over the past 18 months,” said Wisemon in a statement. “Our success in creating a vibrant global Jewish environmental community has been recognized by the Jewish Agency, and we look forward to an even more dynamic upcoming year.”
“Our partnership is the first to utilize Eco Connection to create an ongoing relationship with kids in the States and in Israel,” said Sivia Braunstein, the Partnership’s American chair. “We have expanded the program into 12 schools and kids are learning about the environment and about each other in a Jewish context.”