Israeli Chronicles — Connecting Israel & Cincinnati
Sisterhood through Generations and across Continents— By Hadas Silver
This September the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati welcomed two new Friends from Israel, Alon Peretz and Hadas Silver, who will stay till the beginning of summer 2017. This year marks the 13th year of the Friends from Israel/ Chaverim m’Israel program, which brings two post-high-school teenagers from our partner city, Netanya, to Cincinnati to share themselves, and what they know about Israeli life, with people across the Cincinnati area. The Chaverim program is part of Partnership2GETHER (P2G) of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati. In 2014 alone, the two chaverim met over 5,000 local kids, teens, and families. They met with 19 non-Jewish organizations, and 55 groups in all.
Recently we observed my grandma’s yahrzeit. She died when I was 17. She and my grandpa moved to Israel from England when they were in their mid-eighties (how brave!) and lived there until they died. The four years I spent with them in Israel were the greatest, most special gift I could ever ask for.
My family came together from Israel and London to commemorate my grandma—they went to the cemetery and then, just like she would have loved, went together to a fancy lunch.
When I realized I would not be with my family at this time I was worried. My grandma was one of the most influential people in my life, strong yet warm and gentle, extremely intelligent yet so funny. I miss her every day. Commemorating her was extremely important to me, but I was worried about doing it alone.
After sharing these feelings with my host family, I found myself lighting the yahrzeit candle with them all around, hugging and supporting me. It turned out, even though I was away from home, I wasn’t alone at all.
A few weeks ago, women all over the world stood up for their rights. And in both of my homes—Israel and Cincinnati—women marched in solidarity. Watching this, I couldn’t help but feel immensely proud. Proud of all the strong women in my life, and all the women who were standing up for what they believe in. I was proud to be a woman in a world where our voices are heard.
I know that my grandma, who grew up in a time when women didn’t have the same opportunities as men, and who went back to school as a mother to become a bereavement counselor, would have been so proud.
Recently, with Becca from Moishe House, I organized an Israeli girls’ night. We played games, learned some Hebrew, and shared experiences we have as women in Israel and America. This particular get-together really shed light on the bond we as women have, even when it seems we are so different. It was clear that the woman-to-woman connection is one that crosses boundaries and borders.
I can’t help but feel grateful for this circle of support. The empowering women in my life, my grandma who inspires me every day, my host family, my family in Israel, my friends in both places. These are the circles of support that make me feel strong.
Here’s to all the women in my life—in Israel, in Cincinnati, and looking down on me. In my grandmother’s spirit, may we always be strong but gentle, may we never forget how capable and intelligent we are, and may we always support each other.
Thank you for being my inspiration.