A Weekend of Unity and Hope: ITEC’s Impact on the Atlanta Jewish Community

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Posted on: 05/23/2024

This past weekend, the Israel Tennis & Education Centers (ITEC) hosted events focused on unity and hope in the Atlanta Jewish community. As the largest social service agency for children in Israel, ITEC has served over half a million children and their families since 1976, focusing on underprivileged communities.

Kickoff at The Painted Pickle

The weekend festivities commenced with a Young Professionals Pickleball event at the new venue, The Painted Pickle. ITEC specifically plans events for young professionals to build a vibrant, multigenerational support system that will keep the organization thriving for years. Already, we are seeing these young leaders become passionate advocates for the children of Israel!

An Evening of Connection

Later that evening, prominent community members Evan and Beth Fishman hosted a Cocktail Party at their home. The evening was filled with heartfelt conversations and connections. Attendees had the privilege to hear from Ziv Maman and Noam Yitzchaki, two ITEC Israeli alumni who shared their personal stories of being deeply affected by the harrowing events of October 7th.

Stories of Resilience and Hope

Ziv Maman, an ITEC alum and IDF reservist, shared his heartbreaking yet profound story about the loss of his friends at the NOVA festival and the battlefield in Gaza. “I was out with friends at a party when we started hearing alarms. It was very unclear, and my friends at the NOVA festival weren’t answering their phones. At the same time, I kept getting messages from my team that we were being recruited and needed to get to base immediately to organize equipment and head south,” Maman said. “Unfortunately, five of my friends were killed fighting against the terrorists, and another three were killed at NOVA.”

Noam Yitzchaki, a ITEC’s professional staff member and a program graduate, spoke about his family’s evacuation from Kiryat Shemona on October 7th and ITEC’s efforts to initiate a summer camp for displaced youth. “My family, like many others from Kiryat Shmona, was evacuated right after October 7th. Unfortunately, thousands of families and children are still out of their homes,” Yitzchaki said. “The goal is to provide fully sponsored, structured, and enriching after-school programs for displaced children in desperate need.”

Persistent Support Amidst Conflict

Throughout the ongoing war against Hamas since October 7th, ITEC has remained steadfast in its mission. They have offered crucial support, including mental health services, secure relocation, nourishing meals, and recreational activities, highlighting their unwavering commitment to the well-being of Israeli children.

A Vision for Unity

Ilan Allali, CEO of the ITEC Foundation, passionately articulated the core of ITEC’s mission: “As the largest social service agency for children in Israel, our unwavering priority remains the wellbeing of Israeli children, above all else. Our mission places children at the forefront, with education and the game of tennis serving as the tools to achieve this paramount goal: ensuring their holistic development and resilience.”

Allali also emphasized ITEC’s broader impact: “Through the ITEC, we redefine Israel’s image, empowering Jews in the Diaspora to see its true beauty. By fostering coexistence and instilling values of peace, the ITEC dismantles anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist misconceptions, offering hope for a future free of hate and fear. Together, we can unteach the narratives of division and build a world where unity triumphs.”

A Legacy of Impact

Since 1976, ITEC has significantly impacted the lives of Israeli children through the power of tennis and education. With over 24 locations nationwide, primarily in underprivileged communities, ITEC continues to support Israel’s children, weaving new generations of resilience, hope, and unity.