With a population of over 180,000 citizens—many of whom are new immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia—Be’er Sheva has long been recognized as a city of vast, unrealized potential. On the one hand, it is burdened by socioeconomic and security difficulties and culturally isolated in Israel’s southern periphery, while at the same time it is a thriving urban center and one of Israel’s most densely populated cities, home to the Ben Gurion University of the Negev and the many students who study there. Both Be’er Sheva and the rest of Israel have much to gain from strengthening the connection between this city and the rest of the state.
With this in mind and with the support of the municipality, the city’s Education Department, and the Jewish Federation of Montreal
, Be’er Sheva joined Haifa, Modi’in, Ashdod, Karmiel, and Nazareth Illit as a Be’eri municipal partner in 2010. During the 2010-11 school year five Be’er Sheva high schools joined the Be’eri program. By 2012 all nine of the city’s secular high schools will have joined Be’eri. In addition to providing students with additional weekly hours dedicated to Jewish studies, Be’eri is providing Be’er Sheva teachers and principals with training and enrichment seminars that deepen their knowledge, enhance their professional vision, and expand their skills. Also this year, a community Beit Midrash program launched in Be’er Sheva is bringing teachers and informal educators from community centers together for Jewish discussion on a regular basis.
Be’er Sheva is not the only municipality that has joined the Be’eri program thanks to strategic partnerfunding. Following the announcement of the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles
to support Be’eri in the northern city of Karmiel, we are pleased to announce that the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh
—Karmiel’s P2K partner—will further enable the Be’eri partnership in Karmiel to flourish. Our thanks to these two new Be’eri partners!