because so many settlers came from New York. By the 1947 War for Independence, it was a village of 3,000
residents. In the 1980’s, Ra’anana
was declared a city and occupies six square miles.
Ra’anana’s industrial zone in the north of the
city is home to the Renamin Mall and many hi-tech companies that include
Emblaze, Hewlett-Packard, NICE Systems, SAP, On Target Communications and Texas
Microsoft’s head office in Israel and Amdocs are
located in an office complex at the eastern edge of the city, close to the
Ra’anana junction. Ahuza Street,
Ra’anana’s main boulevard, runs through the city from east to west and is lined
with shops, restaurants, and a government and cultural center.
Ra’anana is renowned for its excellent school
system – there are twelve elementary schools, ten middle schools, and eight
high schools. The world class K –
12 Music Conservatory nurtures young prodigies; Aviv High School has one of the
world’s best robotics education programs.
Ra’anana is also home to the Open University and Ra’anana College.
Ra’anana Park is the largest and most beautiful
in the Sharon District – it offers walking and bike trails, sports fields, a
zoo and petting center, and a lake which is surrounded by a botanical and other
special gardens. The Founder’s
Museum presents the story of Ra’anana’s original settlers in dioramas that
capture the city’s frontier spirit.
Ra’anana is home to Lowenstein Hospital, a
national rehabilitation center. The
main soccer club of the city is Hapoel Ra’anana – Briel Hasharon is the best
basketball team and plays in the Metro West High School. With a large America expatriate
population, the Ra’anana Express competes in the fast developing Israeli
Ra’anana is also home to Beit Issie Shapiro, an
institute dedicated to providing innovative therapies and education to people
with special needs that is a model for the world. The Atlanta – Ra’anana Sister City proposed that a Friends
of Beit Issie and Atlanta’s Marcus
Center for Autism (Children’s Healthcare Network) Committee be established and
sponsor the sharing of best practices, information, and technologies.
The Atlanta – Ra’anana link
The Atlanta – Ra’anana Committee formed out of
student exchange between North Atlanta High School and Ostrovsky High School
Nov. 22 – Dec. 1, 1998. At that
time, Dr. Arnold Heller applied to the Atlanta Sister Cities Commission for
Ra’anana to become the seventeenth sister city partnership.
The first twinning mission took place from May 11
– 17, 2001 – Councilwoman Cleta Winslow represented Mayor Bill Campbell and was
accompanied by Ass’t. Marketing Director Sheila Jack and Dr. Arnold Heller,
The second took place on July 27, 2001, when the
proclamation was signed as a highlight of the 2001 Sister Cities International Convention
in Atlanta. Mayor Zeev Bielski and
former Mayor Bill Campbell are featured signing the proclamation. The Atlanta – Ra’anana link celebrated
its fifteenth anniversary on July 27, 2016.
Atlanta – Ra’anana activities
Themes and objectives:
The main focus of the Atlanta – Ra’anana Sister
City Committee – ARSCC – has been to nurture friendship and economic
development between the peoples of the two cities, and facilitate social,
cultural, educational and athletic exchanges.
In the area of economic development, the ARSCC
works closely with Conexx (formerly Atlanta – Israel Chamber of Commerce
Southeast Division) and Director Guy Tessler; Israel Consul General Mrs. Judith
Shorer, the Atlanta Mayor’s Office, and the Georgia Department of Trade to
strenghthen economic life in both cities and regions. There are currently six Ra’anana-based companies – Amdocs is
the largest – that have made an investment impact in Atlanta that is estimated
at more than $200,000,000.
The 2014 re-election of Zeev Bielski
re-invigorated the partnership that led to the past two years of triumph and
The main goal of 2016 was following up on ARSCC
collaboration in Conexx’ March 21 – 27, 2015 Georgia Cyber Tech Mission to Israel
led by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. The cyber-security theme brought together
Israeli hi-tech executives with Georgia’s technology leaders to foster joint
ventures. For more details, access www.arnoldheller.org/Rededication
& Renewal – The Two Mayors Meet.
For 2017 and economic development intent, Dr.
Heller has proposed that the Atlanta Sister City Commission build on the
cyber-security theme by inviting mayors and experts from our eightteen sister
cities to a conference modeled on the Tel Aviv mission to learn of best
practices and information in this field.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Ra’anana Chair Dr. Arnold
Heller and Ra’anana Mayor Zeev Bielski
The ARSCC encourages the ASCC to work closely
with Conexx, Director Guy Tessler, and Israel counterpart Bracha Schlomo in the
organization of an Economic Development Conference on the issue of
cyber-security, a growing danger to our nation and others.
Ra’anana is first city in Israel to plant a Holocaust
Memorial Daffodil Garden.
The Daffodil Project is a global effort to plant
1.5 million daffodils worldwide in memory of the 1.5 million children who
perished in the Holocaust. ARSCC
member Rena Kahn serves on the Am Yisrael Chai Atlanta Committee, the group
that created the project and is pictured planting daffodil bulbs in 2016 with
Mayor Bielski. Michael Hirsh
Negri, Vice President of Administrative Faculty of Bartov Elementary School and
his sixth grade students planted the 80 bulbs in the Ra’anana Botanical
Garden. Am Yisrael Chai Atlanta is
planning to repeat the Ra’anana daffodil planting in 2017.
Over 300,000 daffodils to date have been planted;
Atlanta was the first city and has planted more than 30,000 bulbs.
On Jan. 22, 2017, Rena Kahn and AM Yisrael Chai
will commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day by presenting Magda Mozes Herzberger, a
Holocaust survivor, to speak on Fortitude and Endurance: Surviving with Faith,
Hope, Love and Dreams.
The Atlanta – Ra’anana Committee plays a
supportive role in attending numerous events sponsored by the Atlanta Jewish
Community during the course of the year – Israel Independence Day celebration,
Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, Kosher Barbecue Event at Brook Run Park in
Dunwoody, and annual ASCC Holiday Party.
Atlanta and Ra’anana – moving forward together.
The ARSCC leadership in 2017 envisions a number
of amibitious continuing projects that reflect both short and long term goals.
1. Establish a Friends of Beit Issie Shapiro and Marcus
Center for Autism Committee to promote the sharing of best practices,
information, technologies, applications for special therapies and
education. An annual gala would
raise money to sponsor joint programs and projects to advance education and
therapy for special people. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta manages the Marcus
Center and supports a Beit Issie – Marcus Center partnership.
2. Sponsor a collaboration between the Atlanta
Youth Symphony Orchestra with Ra’anana’s Music Conservatory Youth
Orchestra. The ARSCC’s supports
Director Limor Akta and Ass’t. Director Guy Porat’s wish for the two youth
orchestras to play and learn together; we hope Robert Spano, Atlanta Symphony
Director, will join with us in this endeavor. Phase 1 of the Music Center’s master plan (see below
rendering) is complete; phase 2 will include a coffee shop for the school’s
talented performers to exhibit their talents and earn money for their programs.
3. Joe Barry Carroll Artists in Residence Program
is collaborating with the Atlanta Sister Cities Committee to sponsor artists
from their respective cities. The
former basketball star has opened his home to visiting artists from
participating sister cities to produce great art. Sessions may range from 14 – 30 days. Sean Atkins, Atlanta – Nuremberg
Committee Chair worked with Mr. Barry to create this vision. The ARSCC looks forward to sponsoring
interested artists to take advantage of this creative opportunity.
Atlanta – Ra’anana Sister City Committee members
and guests attending Jan. 11, 2017 Atlanta Sister City Commission Holiday
Dr. Arnold Heller, Chair
Mrs. Myrna Cohen, Vice Chair
Mrs. Rena Kahn
Mr. Nadav Sivan
Dr. Cedric Suzman
Ms. Mardi Forman
Mrs. Patty Morrison
Mrs. Andrea Videlefsky
Mr. Yoshi Domoto
Mr. Robert Johnson