The Sister City Program
This program, which more accurately may be described as a sister “region” is a partnership between the Jewish community of New Hampshire and the Hof haCarmel region of Israel. This beautiful region stretches from Cesaria, on the coast of the Mediterranean to the outskirts of Haifa, and eastward into the Carmel Mountains. Included in the region are the artist village of Ein Hod, kibbutzim, and numerous historical sites. Our partnership offers a people-to-people connection where visitors to either country already have friends and experience home hospitality, thereby forging a deeper connection between the Diaspora and Israel. If you are planning to visit the Hof haCarmel region or if you would like to learn more, please contact our main office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daf Kesher from Hof Ha Carmel
Our Sister City connection in Israel
The artist's village of Ein Hod offers inspiring art experiences, classes, tours and more! Learn more here!
Gershon Peleg Meets
NH’s Jewish Communities
Gershon Peleg, the chairman of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, spent 10 days in New Hampshire in September as a guest of the Hof HaCarmel Committee of the Jewish Federation of New Hampshire. His travels took him to speak before Jewish communities in Nashua, Peterborough, Keene, Manchester, Hanover, and Portsmouth. He met with environmentalists at the Audubon Society, the University of New Hampshire, and Phillips Exeter Academy, as well as spending time with our seniors and preschoolers. All told, he met with more than 300 members of the NH community.
During his talks, which often included slide shows, Gershon shared information about fish aquaculture, Israel’s water recycling efforts, the challenge of preserving open space in one of the most densely populated countries in the world, and the beautiful birds whose migratory paths bring them through Hof Hacarmel every fall. He also conveyed what is like to live on Israel’s largest kibbutz, Ma’agan Michael, a socialist society where cars are owned by the kibbutz rather than individuals, and everyone from the factory manager to the dish washer receives the same salary.
The Hof Hacarmel Committee began planning the visit nearly one year ago in cooperation with Inbal Shahaf-Gilad in Hof Hacarmel. They arranged speaking engagements, home hospitality, and welcoming meals and receptions throughout the state.
Committee co-chairs Fran Berman and Einat Shpringer were delighted that Gershon reached such a broad spectrum of the NH Jewish community, helping to further the linkage of New Hampshire with its Sister City. The committee can assist any NH residents planning trips to Israel with contacts in Hof Hacarmel so they can make it a special part of their itinerary.
Pen Pals in Portsmouth and Hof Hacarmel Connect via Skype
On a recent Sunday morning in May, about 15 students at Portsmouth’s Temple Israel watching attentively for their turn to speak one-on-one via Skype with their pen pals in Israel’s Carmel Vayam middle school. The pen pal program, initiated by the Federation’s Hof Hacarmel Committee last year, connects NH and Hof Hacarmel students in sixth grade to learn about life “over there.”
Principal Orna Valdman was busy lining up the correct Israeli students to speak to their pen pals, while the classroom teacher in Portsmouth did the same. The Israeli students had to stay after school to participate in the Skype session, while in Portsmouth it was a regular Sunday session of the religious school. The students had previously exchanged two or three letters each with their pen pals.
Students questioned each other about their interests in hobbies, sports, and favorite school subjects. Many soccer fans were in attendance, and some shared information about their pets, where they live, and their career goals. The one-hour session ended with students in Israel and Portsmouth standing to sing “Hatikvah” together.
The Portsmouth students recently sent a package to their Sister City pen pals including items that represent their home towns in Maine and New Hampshire such as a Got Moose bumper sticker, a piece of granite, sand from the beach, a Patriots key chain, and more.
The Hof Hacarmel Committee is looking for additional sixth grade classes that would like to participate in the pen pal program next year. Interested teachers may contact JFNH or committee co-chairs Fran Berman or Einat Shpringer.