Maymon Pe’er hopes to begin a new Pittsburgh tradition this year.
The community shaliach of the United Jewish Federation said the UJF, in cooperation with other local Jewish agencies will hold an Israel Program Fair Nov. 23 to raise awareness in Jewish Pittsburgh about Israel. Admission is free.
“The main idea of the fair is first of all, to allow a maximum amount of people in the community, students and parents alike to come and to learn what the different educational programs offered in Israel are and to increase the number of participants traveling to Israel,” Pe’er said.
The fair’s aim is to reach three separate groups.
“The teens and students for whom the fair is as an educational program that they will use in the future,” said Pe’er.
The second is the parents of teenagers and students. “Many parents send their children [to Israel] and don’t understand what their child will gain,” Pe’er said.
The fair will feature booths and representatives from 15 to 17 different educational institutions; this will allow the student to have the most information from many different schools and programs in Israel.
The third target will be the Jewish educators and youth directors.
“We invited all of them so we can hold a study group with the different representatives,” he said, “to learn and know how to pass on the messages onward to their students.”
The participants will be able to walk through booths from Ben Gurion University, Tel Aviv University, the Interdisciplinary Center and others.
The date was chosen because it is after the High Holidays and Sukkot and just around the time when parents and students think about where the child will want to study next year.
“It’s right after the holidays and sometimes when planning for next year begins,” he said.
El Al will sponsor the main prize of the fair, Pe’er said.
“Every participant in the fair will receive a raffle ticket that will offer them the opportunity to win a trip to Israel,” he said.
Pe’er said that everyone is welcome to attend the event, which will begin at 5 p.m.
“I really hope this kind of fair will become some kind of tradition,” Pe’er said. “It is important to have something like this every year.”
(Alon Melamed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)