Consulate General of Israel In Los Angeles Continues To Connect Jewish Schools With LA's BEST Students

Second sequence of events includes six schools and focuses on Tu Bishvat, the Jewish holiday celebrating earth, nature and trees

January 27, 2010

Los Angeles, CA – January 27 – On January 27 and 28 the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles will continue its partnership that brings together students from LA’s BEST After School Enrichment Program and local Jewish schools. The partnership, a first of its kind, focuses on building a bridge of understanding between children from very distinct communities, which is characteristic of the diversity of the city of Los Angeles.

The Jewish schools participating in the second series of events are Stephen S. Wise, Sinai Akiba and Temple Emanuel – they will be paired with LA’s BEST programs at Victory, Kittridge and Crescent Heights Elementary Schools, respectively.

“After the first event it was clear that there is no bigger gratification than watching children from different worlds play together, learn from each other and share similarities from their cultures,” said Jacob Dayan, Consul General of Israel for the Southwest United States. “Israel is happy to create new bonds between the kids in L.A. that will create generations of hope, respect and understanding. We are privileged to take part in such a unique endeavor.”

This week’s events were inspired by the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat, the new year of trees. The Jewish schools and LA’s BEST program schools planted gardens, created art murals and exchanged cultural activities in the forms of song and dance. Calabasas, Calif.-based ValleyCrest Landscape Development donated wholesome winter vegetables and herbs for the children to plant during the celebrations. The Jewish National Fund (JNF) donated trees to be planted in Israel in honor of every student participating in this series of events.

"The boards, family and staff of LA's BEST are gratified by the Jewish day schools’ commitment to our partnership,” said Carla Sanger, President & CEO of LA's BEST. "We are already planning a special culmination event with a memorable surprise never seen or heard before by either community."

It is the Consulate's hope that by making the initial connection between Jewish schools in Los Angeles and schools in the LA's BEST program, they are sparking a long-lasting, mutually-fulfilling relationship for everyone involved. The collaborative events continue next month with the celebration of Purim. A culminating event will take place in June, highlighting the accomplishments of all the schools and students involved.

Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles

An official office of the government of Israel, the Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles is one of Israel's largest diplomatic missions worldwide, covering the Southwest region of the United States including Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. The Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles can be reached (323) 852-5500 or online at www.israella.org.

About LA's BEST

LA's BEST - Better Educated Students for Tomorrow - is a nationally recognized after school education, enrichment and recreation program serving more than 28,000 children with the greatest needs and fewest resources throughout the City of Los Angeles. LA's BEST After School Enrichment Program provides a safe haven for children ages 5 to 12 at 180 elementary school sites each day during the critical hours after school - at no cost to parents. Established in 1988, LA's BEST is a partnership including the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the private sector. For more information, please visit www.lasbest.org.

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