The new sister city committee generated a lot of enthusiasm for the
idea / concept and that had to be applied in a constructive and focused manner.
The new committee established outreach programs to work with community
organizations, leadership groups, synagogues and rabbis, and the media.
Sub-committees were formed and staffed, roles and responsibilities
clarified to meet the key challenge of becoming part of the fabric of Jewish
life in Atlanta.
The North Atlanta – Ostrovsky High School joint
entrepreneurship education projects continued to flourish.
The Atlanta Public
Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall showed her support for the global business
Copy of e-mailed notification and agenda for the second meeting and
list of original membership. On
behalf of the ARSCC, I thank all of the wonderful people who have contributed
to the committee’s development throughout the fifteen years since
Minutes of Nov. 22, 2001 ARSCC Meeting: An Ambitious Agenda Was
Aaron Bernstein and Lavon Mercer ) Organize and Coordinate a
Basketball Camp Exchange: One of the ARSCC’s Greatest Successes
Aaron Bernstein, the first ASCC Vice Chair, and associated with Lavon
Mercer to form Global Sports Ambassadors, met with municipal officials during a
trip to Ra’anana to send a group of students to Atlanta to experience a
basketball camp August 2003. The
aim of “the two weeks of hoops” was to improve skills and understanding among
Atlanta and Israeli teens. The
exchange was a joint project with the ARSCC, Marcus Jewish Community Center at
Zaban Park, the Butler Street YMCA, and Spelman College where Lavon Mercer was the
basketball coach. See below
Atlanta Jewish Times news article (August 3, 2003) for details.
The Atlanta – Ra’anana Sister City
Would like to thank
the following partners:
of Atlanta Mayors Office
General of Israel
Marcus Jewish Community Center at Zaban Park
The Moody Jews
Congregation Shearith Israel welcomed the youth
of Ra’anana to a Shabbat Service.
The Marcus Jewish Community Center at Zaban Park
was very supportive to ARSCC’s efforts to inform the Atlanta Jewish community
of our mission and goals. Below is a picture of the MJCC Administrative Staff with whom
I discussed a twinning with the Ra’anana Community Center and a informational
kiosk. Beth Gluck, who has headed
CARE and other NGO’s, was an important early supporter. The North Atlanta IBP
students (Atlanta Caribbean Trading Co. – ACTCo) sold the MJCC Gift Shop
Ahava Skin Care products.
I am pictured with Kim Goodfriend of the MJCC
and other staff members at time.
Lydia Weitzman proposed to Kim Goodfriend:
The MJCC annually sponsors a very well attended and represented Jewish
Festival. The ARSCC participated
ten consecutive years with an information display board
to recruit new members. The
translation of the Hebrew lettering on my t-shirt is Ostrovsky Ra’anana, the
The ARSCC tried for several years to sponsor a Fire Services
exchange between the Atlanta Fire Department and Ra’anana. It was later discovered that Ra’anana
was part of the Sharon Regional Fire Authority and unable to enter into an
exchange of technology and best practices.
The ARSCC also promoted a proposal for the Atlanta Police Department
to show Ra’anana police how to implement Community Policing. The State of Israel has a national
police force – Ra’anana does not have a local police department. Dr. Robbie Friedman of Georgia State
University and GILES (Georgia – Israel Law Enforcement Services) advised
the ARSCC that Community Policing was not a good fit for Israeli law
The Sept. 2001 Financial Report was the Treasury’s high point and has
been at zero balance for several years.
The Chair cannot ask his amazingly generous members for dues so we have
operated mostly out of pocket or received very limited donations to help us
achieve our objectives.
Conservative Congregations Shearith Israel
(Atlanta) and Masorti (Ra’anana) Partner:
“The Shul Twinning”
This joint program – the shul twinning (shul is more informal
name for synagogue / temple) – has been a personal favorite of mine. The partnership originated from Masorti
Ra’anana’s invitation to Shearith Israel to enter into a “sister shuls”
relationship. Masorti had started
a Thursday morning Torah reading and prayer service and dreamed of sharing the
joy of Torah with Jews from Atlanta. Lydia Weitzman, International Affairs Coordinator for
Ra’anana, organized the visit of Howard and Ronnie Zandman, dear friends of
mine, founding Ra’anana members, and Shearith Israel congregants, who were
planning a trip to Israel and added a Ra’anana stop to their itinerary.
Shearith Israel (www.shearithisrael.com)
is a 109 year old congregation made up of about 550 families and located in the
Virginia – Highland neighborhood of Atlanta.
The Shearith Israel Rabbi at the time was Mark Kunitz who along with
Hillel Noory, Rabbi for the past decade, have opened their synagogue to the
ARSCC for virtually all the religious events and projects it has been involved
Masorti leaders Colin Marx and Sam Turetsky and his wife welcomed Howie
and Ronnie Zandman.
Howie, wearing phylactery (tefilin), daavens (prays) and reads Torah
with Masorti congregants.
The ARSCC takes special pride in three times playing a role in bringing
Jews from Atlanta and Ra’anana together to read Torah and “break bread”. Howie and Ronnie are pictured
(below) with Lydia Weitzman, International Affairs Coordinator for
Lydia Weitzman served as my counterpart in Ra’anana for seven
years. She was a terrific partner
to work with and tireless advocate for the sister cities mission. Lydia brought the skills of a
journalist in publicizing our partnership and recruiting people for specific
projects. She juggled an amazing
number of projects and plans to advance the twinning as evident in the
following email update to me in 2002.
Copy of the home page of the ARSCC’s first web page:
In 2004, the City of Atlanta helped the ASCC to develop a Commission
web site and links to individual committee informational web sites. The ARSCC was one of the first
committees to produce a web site.