My original assessment of perceived strengths of the relationship were education and economic development as two prime areas for success. At the outset, I would have predicted that education would have been the ARSCC’s core area, Economic Development would have followed. It did not turn out that way.

Education: I was a teacher, brought with me a global network of sister schools to connect Ra’anana schools to, utilized Internet / e-commerce / e-mail in my class well before the Atlanta Public Schools brought IT companies in to wire the facilities. Our sister city program was started up because of a student exchange focusing on global entrepreneurship education.

Expectation: K – 12 Collaborations Up and Down the Line:

I envisioned K – 12 collaborations up and down the line with the excellent Ra’anana School District such as an array of electronic pen pal projects in the early grades, joint Internet-based science / computer / robotics / music projects with the middle schools, high school student exchanges focusing on international business, athletics, arts, religious educational opportunities and so on. Ra’anana’s school system includes outstanding facilities, highly professional teaching staff, openness to new ideas, and enthusiasm for excellence in education. It is my opinion that the Ra’anana schools meet the learning needs of its students in every nurturing way possible and perhaps as well as any educational system in the world.

I imagined the Hebrew Day Schools in Atlanta and Ra’anana engaging in joint Hebrew - English language instructional lessons using Skype or conferencing to teach each other. All of this was doable with substantial resources available to make it happen. Human energy, focus, persistence, collaborative will were the variable ingredients, all needed for the long term, fluctuated. And after a number of disappointments, maybe we gave up a bit too.

Student exchanges: Expectation – annual or bi-annual exchanges and participation in Super – Exchanges in particular. Neither North Atlanta or Ostrovsky nor any other Atlanta or Ra’anana area schools have ever engaged in a student exchange since the 1998 joint project. We tried virtually ever year to bring a Ra’anana delegation over to Atlanta but there always seemed to be a problem that could not be overcome.

· The Intifada terror campaign fostered insecurity and economic difficulty for Ra’anana families – and it did. One Ra’anana citizen was killed playing the saxophone at a Tel Aviv Passover Seder – a suicide bomber killed 76 people that night.

· Educational bureaucracy – In 2001, I received a grant to pay for 1 teacher and 4 students from Ra’anana to participate in Super – Exchange V. Because the school did not submit its overseas travel request to the Ministry of Education by Dec. 1 – Ostrovsky was a week late – the exchange group was denied participation in perhaps the greatest student exchange of all time. I appealed to the Consulate of Israel – they shrugged that there was nothing that they could do.

· Annual Holocaust Education Trip to Poland – part of the national curriculum - which annually involved 240 – 270 students and seemed to absorb all resources and attention needed to send even a few students to Atlanta.

· High national Israeli taxes on air plane tickets that seemed to push the price of travel to Atlanta beyond the reach of most Ra’anana families.

· Ra’anana’s Aviv High School students competed in the Robotics Competition held at the Georgia World Congress Center but did not connect with any local public high schools while here.

· JFGA’s commitment to / emphasis on Yochneam and the financial pressure on Federation to invest limited resources across the organization’s many important human needs program has limited support for and interaction with Ra’anana.

Educational collaborations: Both Ra’anana and Atlanta have worked very hard to implement a variety of learning opportunities for both public and Hebrew day school students. There are usually only a few teachers in every school who are inclined to take on new projects – most teachers are often too busy. When we could find a teacher to take on a project, they always seemed to move at the end of the year causing the search to start anew come September. Programs and projects experienced a discontinuity that has led to a start / stop pattern of new projects. My having retired from teaching in 2008 further limits my contacts in education.

Some examples: Tu B’Shevat Celebration (Jewish “Arbor Day”) Project

Example: Proposed Young Madrachim Project

This proposal was not acted on.

Aviv High School’s Participations in the Robotics Competition:

A Ra’anana hi-tech company sponsored gifted Aviv High students to compete with other high school teams from many countries and across the U. S. The Robotic Competition was / is a fantastic learning opportunity for the Aviv students. The Consulate of Israel always held a reception for the Aviv young robotics geniuses – the ARSCC always attends and honors the visiting students with a short speech about the sister cities program.

May 2006 Ra’anana Report to the ASCC:

Mayor Nahum Hofree interviewed by Jerusalem Post, Feb. 16, 2006 – Vision for his City

Cong. Masorti Ra’anana Rabbi Reuven Resnick addresses Cong. Shearith Israel in Atlanta Sept. 8, 2006

Economic development has been the ARSCC’s greatest success story – we owed that mainly to professionals Tom Glaser and the AICC who have assisted more than 45 Israeli companies to do business in Atlanta, Georgia, Southeastern US with over a $1 billion of investment. Three or more of the companies are Ra’anana-based including Amdocs, the largest. Ra’anana has twice sent delegations to ASCC Economic Development Conferences (2006 & 2008). Mayor Hofree has invited Atlanta Mayor Kaseem Reed to visit Israel and Ra’anana and encouraged expanded trade. The online edition of the Jerusalem Post published on September 27, 2006:

Atlanta Sister Cities Economic Development Conference, Oct. 19-20, 2006 – Hosted by Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and Ra’anana Mayor Nahum Hofree

Five ARSCC Ladies: L-R - The late Sue Heller, Vice Chair Myrna Cohen, Secretary Rena Kahn, Int. Affairs Coordinator Lydia Weitzman, Councilwoman Ruth Elram

Team Ra’anana L – R: Rena Kahn, Lydia Weitzman, Councilwoman Ruth Elram, Mayor Nahum Hofree, Arnold Heller, Myrna Cohen, Dr. Cedric Suzman.

Mayor Hofree visited Congregation Shearith Israel and Rabbi Hillel Noori along with Councilwoman Ruth Elram, Lydia Weitzman.

Mayor Hofree, Dr. Cedric Suzman, and I attended a meeting with JFGA Director Steve Rakitt. The Mayor, aware of Federation’s commitment to serving Yochneam, delicately approached Mr. Rakitt about expanding interaction with Atlanta’s sister city in Israel. Mr. Rakitt responded that “he already had a wife” and could not have a “girl friend” too.

The decades of war and conflict has left a sizable portion of Israel’s military disabled, subsequently, the country has pioneered in treating and training the disabled. Athletics became a natural outlet for disabled citizens to compete and enjoy the pleasure of sports participation (swimming, basketball, track, gymnastics just to name four).

It was proposed that this model therapy center concept be transported to Atlanta for the benefit of our disabled citizens. The following invitation was from”

Mr. Ross Mason was a cycling enthusiast who while riding the Silver Comet Trail, had a severe accident and tragically lost use of his legs. Ross led his short welcoming speech off with; “When I was biking, I had a 43 inch chest and 28 inch waist, now it’s the reverse.” Ross, an advocate for the proposed Sport Center, presented himself as Atlantans who could greatly benefit from the center. Mr. Mason introduced five visiting Israeli athletes aged 15 – 25, self-described “regulars at the Center”. The athletes, two of whom were in wheel chairs, appeared fit, happy, and self-confident. The ARSCC is proud to have been a part of this proposal and relishes the day when this sports center is built.

Ra’anana’s pride in pioneer past displayed in Founder’s Hall presented joint project opportunities with The Bremen at the Selig Federation Building and the Atlanta History Center to share best practices:

Christians United for Israel – Standing with the Jewish State – Building bridges between the Christian and Jewish Communities

Since 2000, the growth of Christian Holy Land Tours to Israel has been enormous and the Evangelical Churches have organized pressure on Congress to support Israel politically, economically, militarily. The ARSCC recognized this trend, has been reaching out to Atlanta’s great evangelical churches the past decade, and been represented at the annual Night to Honor Israel rallies since 2007.