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 education partnership.

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 conception.

Minutes of Nov. 22, 2001 ARSCC Meeting: An Ambitious Agenda Was Attempted:

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 Committee


Global Sports Ambassadors

Would like to thank the following partners:

City of Atlanta Mayors Office

Consulate General of Israel

Marcus Jewish Community Center at Zaban Park

J2J Community

Atlanta Braves

Coca Cola

The Moody Jews

Shir Harmony

Spelman College

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 committee’s origin.

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 enforcement systems.

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 ( 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 in.

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 Ra’anana.

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.