All children deserve a safe and welcoming environment in which to learn and socialize; a place to laugh with friends, learn from qualified teachers and explore their world. This is something we mostly take for granted in the West, and something children and families have struggled with in Israel's Sha'ar HaNegev region. Although the “Gate to the Negev” is green and thriving, its citizens are still under constant threat of rocket fire from neighboring Gaza.
Through Federation's work with the IBIM Student Village in the region, the San Diego community and our Federation leadership was introduced to the dynamic, spirited people of this region. This relationship quickly flourished, and Sha'ar HaNegev became San Diego's partner community in 1999.
Scheduled to open in early 2012, the Sha'ar HaNegev Educational Village Arts Center is part of a small educational campus designed to withstand rocket attacks and provide a first-class learning environment for K-12. Planned to accommodate 1,800 students and faculty, the Educational Village will provide a safe environment to learn, grow and celebrate Jewish life without fear, where parents will feel comfortable sending their children to school.
The Arts Center will be particularly important to Sha'ar HaNegev because, for the first time ever, it will provide for students and families in this region programs typically available only in larger cities, including arts, drama, and other cultural activities important to healthy development.
While phase one of the Educational Village Arts Center is nearing completion, there is still much to do. There is a substantial waiting list for the school, as families continue to arrive in the area to make new lives. The San Diego - Sha'ar HaNegev relationship is strong and dynamic, and we look forward to new projects on the horizon. The leadership and staff of our Israel & Overseas Center and Community Planning & Innovation Center are working with Sha'ar HaNegev leaders to take our partnership to the next level.
Your support for the Jewish Federation of San Diego County brings much needed educational and social benefits to the families of Sha'ar HaNegev, helping to fulfill David Ben-Gurion's dream of seeing the Negev bloom.
Making the Desert Bloom - Sha'ar HaNegev School Opening
Shimon Peres visits Sha'ar HaNegev
The video below features President Shimon Peres. As a tribute to Yitzchak, Israel's President Shimon Peres attended the school's opening ceremonies, where he praised the 1,200 students for their courage and commitment to academics. Nothing would have made Yitzchak prouder than to see the young faces that make up the future of Israel, waving Israeli flags as they welcomed in the school year.