For over two decades, the Israeli town of Rosh Ha’Ayin has held a special bond with Birmingham, and in recent years, also with New Orleans. Both communities, through Partnership 2000 and Project Renewal, have raised funds for projects in Rosh Ha’Ayin, and the Rosh Ha’Ayin Mandolin Orchestra toured both communities in 2003.
Now, the tables have turned, and the children of Rosh Ha’Ayin are fundraising to help the children of New Orleans. The operation has been named C2C — Children to Children.
Mayor Moshe Sinai of Rosh Ha’Ayin has held a number of conversations with senior officials in the Foreign Ministry and with Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom in order to coordinate the assistance. The children of Rosh Ha’Ayin will be called on to contribute, through the schools and kindergartens, to the children of New Orleans, each according to his means.
The funds raised will be transferred through the Jewish Agency to United Jewish Communities in the U.S., which has set up a special fund for immediate assistance to the victims of the hurricane.
The mayor met with some of the elderly of Rosh Ha’Ayin who are living in Tiberius and told them of the project. A number of them were moved by the project and took out 100-shekel notes to contribute to the project. The mayor, who was moved to tears by the solidarity demonstrated by the elderly group, thanked them from the bottom of his heart and praised their generosity.
At a meeting with school principals, the mayor stressed that “just as the U.S. came to Israel’s rescue in its difficult hours, so we have a moral and educational obligation to come to the help of the U.S. now.” The school principals promised to do their best to raise the requested funds.
Mayor Moshe Sinai pointed out that this is an emotional gesture which is an expression of the close ties between the Jewish communities of New Orleans and Birmingham and that of Rosh Ha’Ayin and of the mutual responsibility felt between the communities.
There is an official ceremony expected in the coming months to recognize the sister city relationship between Rosh Ha’Ayin and the city of Birmingham.