(Editor’s Note: Chronicle Correspondent Abby Gordon is on the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Centennial Mega Mission to Israel. This is her latest entry. Her complete blog can be found on the home page of thejewishchronicle.net.)
After our separate experiences in the Karmiel area, the whole mission gathered in Karmiel. We helped to create a permanent sculpture based on Leah Goldberg’s children’s book Apartment For Rent. There were tables of oil paints, brushes and big stone feet, and anyone who wanted to participate painted a unique foot. We placed them all along the edge of a pathway through the park, creating a sculpture people can move through and experience as both individual elements and a united creative effort.
After some free time spent wandering around the area, buying goods from local artists and socializing with the residents of our partner region, we all went to the Park at the Quarry in Karmiel for dinner, a tour of the sculpture garden and entertainment.
To say our brothers and sisters in the region pulled out all the stops would be utterly insufficient. Imagine if Mellon Park were closed to the public for an evening while we feasted with several hundred Israelis as circus performers wandered through in costume or on stilts. Their park was bigger and more beautiful than Mellon, and their sculpture garden wound through a maze of paths and included a waterfall.
This was our last evening to spend with all of our hosts (some of them attended sub track activities the next day). At my table, locals and Pittsburghers exchanged memories of visits to each other’s cities and a teenaged Israeli girl told us about the tests she’s preparing to take for her placement in the IDF. She has been to the states but regrets having missed her chance to go to Pittsburgh in the past — after all, her mother and the other friends we’ve made from Karmiel have nothing but wonderful memories of our city. Likewise, they were so touched when I told them that for much of the Chronicle’s readership, Karmiel and Misgav are a highlight.