An eight-member delegation, headed by Sabra Minkus, President and Acting Executive Director of the New Mexico Jewish Federation, visited Ramat Hanegev on May 5-8th in order to acquaint themselves with the region, understand its challenges and sign an agreement in principle for cooperation between the two communities.
During their tour of the region the delegation members met with local residents and visited the Council’s educational institutions and agricultural projects, frontier settlements and communities, and tourist attractions.
At a modest formal ceremony, attended by the New Mexico community representatives and the Council’s department heads, an agreement of the principles for cooperation was signed. The agreement seeks to foster relations between the people of the Jewish community of New Mexico and their counterparts in Ramat Hanegev, to undertake a commitment to promote joint ventures and projects, and to unite in a common Jewish identity through cooperation in various fields of action which will be crystallized together through a joint steering committee representing both partner communities.
In addition, the delegation unveiled a plaque acknowledging the New Mexico community’s contribution to the Council’s “Mother & Baby Wellness Clinic” and put up a mezuzah there.
The delegation’s visit and the signing of the partnership agreement were made possible thanks to 18 months of discussions and actions intended to engender greater familiarity and trust between the two communities.
Delegation members, for some of whom this was their very first visit to Israel, were profoundly impressed by the places they visited and remarked that they eagerly anticipate developing reciprocal ties with the partner community in Israel, ties which are as important to them as they are for Ramat Hanegev.
In his welcome speech, Council Mayor Shmulik Rifman said that “the new partnership is an important step forward in the Council’s vision whereby we are duty-bound to ensure Jewish identity, growth and quality of life for all Jews everywhere.”