As the International Business Program (IBP) expansion marched across the Caribbean from Jamaica to Trinidad to the Dominican Republic, and south to Brazil and Nicaragua, and across Europe from England to Estonia, Latvia and Germany, I wondered; “Isn’t it about time for an IBP school in Israel?”

I contacted the Israeli Consulate and Mr. D. Scott Crothers, Communications & Public Affairs Officer, referred me to the Vanlere Institute’s Global Learning and Business Enterprise Program in Jerusalem.

February 15, 1998: Response from Joseph Bar-El representing O. I. T. – Ostrovsky International Trade:

Mrs. Rachel Peled, English teacher, was the Ostrovsky H. S. Exchange Coordinator and my host teacher. Rachel was an excellent partner, outstanding exchange coordinator,

terrific teacher, and a wonderful wife and mother to her family. Rachel and her fellow Ostrovsky techers provided a fantastic exchange experience and made it look so easy too.

Former Mayor Zeev Bielski welcomed the North Atlanta exchange group to his office. At that point in time, I was serving as the Chair of the Atlanta – Rio de Janeiro Sister City Committee. I observed how efficient Mayor Bielski and his staff were and was impressed by the resources and global reach of a relatively small city. Atlanta was searching for a

sister city in the Middle East and an idea went off in my head. I walked up to Mayor Bielski, told him about my position on the Atlanta Sister Cities Commission, and asked

him if he would be interested in twinning with Atlanta. An “are you kidding me type smile” beamed across his face and he said; “Of course, we’d be honored.”

I am pictured with former Mayor Zeev Bielski and current Mayor Nahum Hofree. At the time, Mayor Hofree was the Ostrovsky High School Principal. A former jet fighter

Pilot, Mayor Hofree was retrained to become a principal and was a very good one – his teachers and students loved him. I took great pride in the innovative joint projects our students engaged in. He later served as and effective Ra’anana Superintendent of Education before following Mayor Bielski into City Hall where he has served for almost two terms. The Atlanta – Ra’anana Committee is well aware that political continuity created by consecutive mayors strongly supporting the program has been instrumental to our longevity.

Group photo that included North Atlanta IBP students and their Ostrovsky host students. The Israeli students were fine hosts and showed their North Atlanta friends a great time. One of my best moments was watching the Jewish host mothers kiss my students cheek as if they were their own daughters. I knew right there that Ra’anana’s soul was kind, generous and loving and would make a good sister city partner.

Group photo taken by Lydia Weitzman who, a year later, became the Coordinator of International Affairs and served the ARSCC for over five years. Lydia published a news article that described the exchange and program as a great success. One of my best exchange moments happened during our tour of Jerusalem. Two Muslim students had the opportunity to worship at the holy Al Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount. A father, an Iman at the Atlanta Mosque, had asked me to accompany his daughter and a friend, to the entrance and let them pray. I cherish the beautiful inter-faith moments that occurred during this exchange, especially the Junior Achievement Conference in Nazareth.

This is one of my favorite group photos. It was taken right after a Junior Achievement Entrepreneurship lesson that included Muslim and Christian Arab students from a school in Nazareth, my Christian and Muslim Atlanta students, and the Israeli Jewish students. Watching the three groups of students learn together, laugh and have fun like normal teenagers anywhere was one of my best moments as a teacher. I cherish the good feelings that this photo reflects and were felt that day between the students.

Nazareth Junior Achievement student conference on entrepreneurship: Focus – starting up a company. These three groups of students game me hope that peace in the Middle

East is possible if people simply recognize the common humanity in all of us. See below news article by Lydia Weitzman that described purpose and events of trip in glowing terms.

The Ostrovsky – North Atlanta student exchange groups met Atlanta Journal – Constitution Middle East Correspondent Larry Kaplow in Nazareth. Mr. Kaplow published

this article on the Atlanta students visiting Nazareth that day and Israel in general. He later published a 1000 word feature on Ra’anana right after the sister city twinning became official.

Bruce Gaynes of Kelly, Kitchens, Gaynes and a close friend brought the below notice in the American Israel Chamber of Commerce of the North Atlanta student exchange

to Ostrovsky High in Ra’anana. Ironically, both Bruce and Tom Glaser, President of the AICCSE, were both founding members of the Atlanta – Ra’anana Committee.

The North Atlanta IBP and the Ostrovsky Young Entrepeneurs Program settled into a nicely lucrative trading relationship for both enterprises. Ostrovsky students purchased discounted Ahava products and selected arts and crafts for North Atlanta’s ACTCO (Atlanta Caribbean Trading Co.) and Warrior Warehouse School Store. Ostrovsky students

Added a fair profit, shipped the goods to North Atlanta with couriers headed to the U. S. North Atlanta students priced the Ahava products well below fair market prices and still made a hefty profit margin.