Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Top Gifts" Mission Enjoys Sunny Ashkelon Winter

Michael Elman (Baltimore) and Alan Marcus (Ashkelon).
The "Top Gifts Mission to Israel and Poland" was in Ashkelon on the 9th and 10th of November as part of a hectic 10 day trip with a non-stop program full of action, excitement and highlight events.
Top Gifts Mission to Israel and Poland -Nov 2008
Michael Lapidus Park (Park Baltimore)
On 9th November, the Top Gifts Mission delegates attended the 13th Memorial Ceremony for the late Yitzhak Rabin, for the 3rd year running. After the ceremony the Mission enjoyed dinner at the home of Shmuel and Leah Pivo, long-time Ashkelon residents.
Anat Weinstein Berkovitz - spokeswoman, Ashkelon Municipality, and Maia Hoffman - Director of Delegations and Special Projects.
After dinner, Levi Shafran talked about his experiences as a pilot, flying one of the planes involved in Operation Solomon - a 36 hour non-stop airlift operation transporting Ethiopian Jews to Israel in 1991, and showed a short documentary that left many in tears.
LEAP (Ladies Ethiopian Art Project) embroidery was on sale and mission participants were treated to a short talk by ENP Director Dr. Negist Mengesha.
The next morning began with a security briefing from Avi Dichter, and continued with visits to PACT and other projects funded by the Jewish community of Baltimore and the Ashkelon-Baltimore Partnership. The highlight of the morning was the visit to The Michael Lapidus (Park Baltimore) and the Lyn Stacie Getz Playground. Many of the TOP GIFTS participants also took part in building the Park and the Lyn Stacie Getz Playground, almost a year ago, and were excited to see the green and lush park, and all the playground equipment, all looking its best on that sunny Monday.
Nissim Suissa- Director of Environment, Ashkelon Municipality; with Sigal Ariely
Mission participants admired the ceramic and mosaic plaques made by the Pant-Futrovsky Family Mission, now mounted on a wall in the park, and then made their own hands-on contribution to the Park.
Half the group painted a protective laquer finish on the Exodus ship and the other half helped make the mosaics on the seating.
The tired but happy group took a break for a picnic lunch and a talk by Ashkelon's David Ariel, who came to Israel as a 15 year old illegal immigrant on the ship Exodus.
Suzi Eigenstein translating for David Ariel - Exodus survivor
See more photos of the "Top Gifts Mission" in Ashkelon on the Ashkelon-Baltimore Partnership online album webpage.
The intrepid Mission participants left Ashkelon and continued southwards for a desert experience. Two more days of the Mission remain....... Nicole

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