Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Federation and Jewish Community Open School in Sha'ar HaNegev

The Jewish Federation of San Diego County is proud to announce the dedication of the Alexander Joseph Viterbi Arts Center in Sha’ar HaNegev, Israel, on June 26. Over the past ten years, the Federation and San Diego Jewish community have contributed more than $10 million to the embattled region, which is under constant threat from Gaza rockets. The Arts Center, part of the newly built Sha’ar HaNegev Education Village, is situated only kilometers away from the contentious Gaza border. It will open its doors for the first time to over 1,800 K-12 students this spring. For many of the students it will be their first opportunity for exposure to the arts, music, design and drama. It is being named in memory of Alexander Joseph Viterbi. The dedication ceremony will be attended by several families from San Diego as well as dignitaries from the Israeli government and local officials.

 In 2008, following the escalation of rockets from Gaza onto Sha’ar HaNegev, the Sha’ar HaNegev community persuaded the Israeli government to approve building a specially-shielded high school on the educational campus of Sha’ar HaNegev. The Jewish Federation of San Diego County took a bold step, as the first organization to commit its support to building the school in its early planning stages. With Rick Kornfeld’s leadership, many families in San Diego stepped up to support the new high school with their generous donations. Aharale Rothstein, Sha’ar HaNegev high school principal led many delegations of teachers and students on educational exchanges over the past few years. These exchanges between the people of San Diego and Sha’ar HaNegev, inspired by Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council Mayor Alon Schuster, led to an understanding that there is a great need and opportunity, to work together to enhance our common Jewish identity and destiny. 

 After a tremendous investment of time, expertise and funding, the dream of a state-of-the-art high school with a focus on pluralistic Jewish values, is coming to fruition. The children of Sha’ar HaNegev will soon be able to attend classes in a safe and sophisticated learning environment in their community, not far from their homes. The Alexander Joseph Viterbi Art Center, created through the generosity of the people of San Diego, funded through Jewish Federation of San Diego County, will enrich their lives through dance, music, painting and other cultural activities.


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