We are pleased to share with you some highlights from the past quarter. We hope that you take pride in what your generosity has made possible for Israeli youth!
A Transformative Gift from Legendary Designer Stuart Weitzman
Legendary shoe designer, philanthropist and Maccabiah Games medalist Stuart Weitzman is making a transformative gift to develop new tennis and athletic facilities as part of the Israel Tennis & Education Centers, in Jerusalem and Ramat Hasharon.
“I am fortunate to be able to help ITEC continue to expand its athletic and education programs,” says Weitzman, “Our future leaders come from opportunities like this. And ITEC does it as well as any organization I know.”
Read the full press release, HERE.
President Herzog Joins ITEC Sajur’s Head Start Program for a Day
The President of the State of Israel, Isaac Herzog, met with children of ITEC’s Head Start program in Sajur. During the meeting, President Herzog participated in a conversation with the children about their time at ITEC and enjoyed watching them show off their skills on the court playing against Grand Slam Champions Andy Ram and Yoni Erlich.
President Herzog said, “The real thing we all have in common is that sports is not just about muscle mass and strength. Sports is first and foremost a guide for behavioral and value-based education. Sports is the relationship to others… a combination of many things that give a person the ability to function in a modern society.”
The Head Start program has been running for two years and spans five ITEC Centers with 100 children aged 8-12 participating. The children receive full funding for tennis training and enrichment activities, with the participation of their parents, over 30 weeks.
“The Head Start program works to bring hearts closer together and reduce the differences in Israeli society.” Said Mr. Herzog, “The strength of Israeli society is in the amazing social mosaic that we see here in Sajur. The time has come for all of us to get to know each other, their beliefs, lifestyle and world view, and respect each other.”
Youth Ambassadors from Israel Inspire in Florida
We would like to thank the hundreds of supporters that joined us in Florida for the Winter Exhibition Cycle, witnessing first-hand the positive and profound impact that the ITEC experience is having on children in Israel.
A diverse team of Israeli players flew to the US to share their stories, including Yonatan from Tel Aviv, Celine from Haifa, and Mika from Ra’anana. Each has a unique personal story about what ITEC has meant to them, their families, and the communities in which they live.
According to Celine, who comes from a Christian-Arab background, “Throughout my journey at the center, I gained multiple skills and values that have helped me to become a better athlete and human being,” she said. “Discipline, respect, hard work and sportsmanship are some examples. The center is multicultural. Jews, Arabs, Muslims, Christians all play together peacefully and train for one purpose: supporting and believing in each other.”
ITEC’s 45th Anniversary Mission Trip
After much anticipation due to Covid-19 delays, ITEC hosted its 45th Anniversary mission to the UAE and Israel in February. Fifty-two enthusiastic travelers from all over the United States and Canada embarked on a life-changing journey, during which friendships were formed, laughter (and food!) were abundant, and each participant was able to experience the joy, kindness, and love of the children of ITEC.
Participants experienced the best of both Dubai and Israel, from visiting Dubai’s Holocaust Museum and having dinner with Sheikh Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor to touring the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation and exploring the Ramon Crater.
However, the most moving parts of the trip were the visits to ITEC Centers. In true ITEC fashion, the children welcomed mission participants with flowers and open arms, guiding them through their daily activities while sharing their stories and dreams, and even performing a special flash dance, which wowed the crowd.
As we say in our prayers, “next year in Jerusalem!” ITEC is already planning the next mission, which will be for Young Leaders October 19th – 26th. We hope to replicate this experience with the younger generation. Stay tuned for more information!