The major achievement of the Atlanta – Ra’anana Sister City Committee during 2012 was the June 9, 2012 concert that introduced Mr. Tamir Akta to Atlanta music lovers. The concert was held at the beautiful home of noted Roswell architect Mr. Ari Kohn, an Israeli-American, and was organized with the help of Ra’anana committee member Mrs. Rena Kahn.

Mr. Akta, a world class trumpet player and citizen of Ra’anana, had just won an international performance competition that was held by Columbus State University from June 6 – 8, 2012. Mr. Akta ( was introduced to the audience of thirty people by his wife Mrs. Limor Akta. A great trumpeter in her own right, Limor, and Mrs. Akta, since 2003, has also been the Director of the excellent K-12 Ra’anana Music Center. Dr. Arnold Heller, Chair of the Atlanta – Ra’anana Committee, informed the audience of the committee’s mission, twelve years of engaging in joint projects, and presented Mr. and Mrs. Akta with gifts of appreciation.

Arnold Heller addressing the audience to show their appreciation to Tamir and Limor Akta..
Tamir Akta is a recipient of an America Israel Cultural Foundation Scholarship, won the Interlaken competition in 1991, and has been principal trumpet and soloist with the young Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.


Tamir (above) is pictured playing with the Ra’anana municipal flag to his left.
Tamir and Limor trained at the Paris Conservatory under the tutelage of master trumpeter Guy Touvron.

Limor Akta describing the Ra’anana Music Center’s mission, curriculum and achievements.

Since Mr. and Mrs. Akta’s return to Israel, they have performed as soloists in chamber music concerts, with large prestigious orchestras, and music festivals all over the world. Limor, who nurtures young musicians as the Music Center Director, and Tamir who teachers young trumpet players, believe that it is their calling to help train the next generation of Israeli musicians.

Beit Issie Shapiro Therapy Center Wins UN Award

Ra’anana based Beit Issie Shapiro is an organization providing services to children with special needs, promoting research and training, and changing attitudes toward people with disabilities. The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has named the Israeli NGO as a special consultant” on assisting disabled children.

Beit Issie Shapiro was founded in 1980 and has become a world class training, education, and research center for the provision of best practice therapies. Mrs. Jean Judes, Executive Director, accepted the award and promised; “We have so much to shares as well as learn from other countries, and this status will enable us to network and exchange information with leading specialists in the field of disabilities across the world. This is an opportunity for us to influence policy in order to bring about a greater quality of life for these individuals and families.”

The ARSCC has worked with Beit Issie Shapiro to promote best practice linkages with Atlanta’s Marcus Center for Autism and a joint project with Dr. Lesley Rubin of Emory University and Morehouse Medical Center. Dr. Arnold Heller has twice visited Beit Issie Shapiro and Mrs. Judes to discuss ways and means of increasing cooperation and collaboration between Beit Issie Shapiro and other innovative Atlanta therapy centers.

Hamas Missiles Affect Visit by Goizueta Business School of Emory University

On September 21, ARSCC members Myrna Cohen and Arnold Heller met with Dr. Jozette Kauffman and Dr. Jonathan Darcy of the Emory University Graduate School of Business. Dr. Kauffman and Dr. Darcy described interest in bringing seventy graduate students to Ra’anana for a day (April 28) to provide their students an opportunity to experience Israel outside of the usual large population centers. The Israeli leg of a mission that included a tour of Istanbul, Turkey was to learn how to really do business in the “start up” nation.

Dr. Heller and Mrs. Cohen began organizing a tour of:

  • The AT & T Innovation Center in Ra’anana, one of three in the world – Silicon Valley, Murray Hill, N.J. and soon Atlanta;
  • Tour Beit Issie Shapiro as an example of a world class nonprofit,
  • Meeting with Limor and Tamir Akta to observe a world class music school and young music prodigies practicing their instruments,
  • Tour a nearby moshav that buys seed and tractors in Georgia and sells food in Atlanta and the rest of the state.

This joint project promised to be the major event of 2013 and Mrs. Michal Geffen, International Affairs Coordinator for Ra’anana, began to work directly with Dr. Kauffman and Dr. Darcy to plan the whirlwind visit along with a meeting with Mayor Nahum Hofree.

Unfortunately, the recent conflict between Israel and the Hamas leadership of the Gaza Strip broke out – hundreds of missiles rained down on southern Israel and reached the outskirts of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and sufficiently concerned forty-five students to withdraw. To date, twenty-five students appear to Dr. Kauffman and Dr. Darcy determined to visit Ra’anana and the Municipality eagerly awaits their presence.

Ra’anana Celebrates its 90th Anniversary with a Massive Photo Display

The 90 Faces of Ra’anana presentation, was inspired by the Jewish adage, “70 Faces of the Torah”, which aptly expresses the colorful diversity of the city, which has gathered people from various sectors, new immigrants and native Israelis, secular and religious, living in harmony and tolerance, with mutual respect, caring and volunteer efforts for those with special needs or in need. Dozens of photo portraits featuring children and adults, women, men, seniors, city founders, members of youth movements, new immigrants and native Israelis are on display across the city.

Ninety years ago, Zionists from New York started a moshav (cooperative agricultural enterprise) fifteen miles north of Tel Aviv. Throughout the year, the now hi-tech garden city of 80,000 people will be engaged in open air concerts in Ra’anana Park with leading artists, cultural festivals, heritage events, and varied educational activities for children.

The Neveh Zemer, the Largest Neighborhood in Ra’anana History, is Launched

The mixed use project will include 3,500 apartments, a commercial center, a municipal square and numerous sports fields. Neveh Zemer promises to greatly expand the affordable housing market to encourage young people to settle in Ra’anana and raise a family. The official ceremony was attended by Eli Yishai, Minister of the Interior and Ra’anana Mayor Nahum Hofree.

Ra’anana Granted Award for Greenest Local Authority in Israel for 2012

The City of Ra’anana was selected as the greenest city in Israel for 2012, at the 15th annual Cleantech conference and exhibition held in Tel Aviv. Over 30 local authorities across the country that were recommended by environmental experts competed for the title of Greenest Authority. The sustainable development standard included reduction in municipal waste volume, advancing environmental education, preserving and developing water principles.

International Experts Establish 1st Israeli Municipal Future Center in Ra’anana

International development experts from Holland and Italy visited Ra’anana this past year to establish the first center in Israel to study the future of municipalities. The center’s purpose is the implementation of a successful model of dialogue and active involvement of the public and local authorities in promoting initiatives and new ideas in the urban space – entitled “To Dream the Future and to Implement It”. The experts included Simon Fransen of Oss, Holland, Ernest Per De Lange of the Dutch Tax & Customs Administration and Paolo Martinez, a leader of the international future centers movement.

Atlanta – Ra’anana Committee Celebrates the ASCC Annual Holiday Party

Arnold Heller and Myrna Cohen represented the ARSCC at the annual ASCC Holiday Party held at AGG on Dec. 19, 2012. The Chair and Vice Chair provided several delicious Israeli and Hanukah food items for the Commission to savor. The delicacies included hummus, tabouli, pita bread, rugulah and chocolate pieces known as gelt.