June 6, 2013
Today was to be a day for some strategic thinking. How can we help the town with its tourism initiative? It worked out differently.
Nobel Prize winner Aaron Ciechanover
Heather and Queenie had the opportunity to meet with Rachael (an all star teacher) and Naomi, (in charge of youth programming) and they took advantage of it. Then, we were thrilled to meet with the Yerucham Mayor Michael Biton for a full hour. He explained his vision at length as well as the challenges he faces and then invited us to join him for coffee later that afternoon as he was meeting with a famous visitor, Aaron Chiechover, a 2004 Nobel Israeli prize winner. We were awed to be in the presence of such a brilliant scientist and listened with bated breath as he talked enthusiastically and articulately about Yerucham’s importance to the Negev, to applied Zionism and its enormous potential.
We ended the day with a stimulating meeting with Leah Shakdiel, one of the Negev’s, if not all of Israel’s most famous female social activists. In her sixties now she had lost none of her passion for equal opportunities for quality education which included not only the basic studies but also the courses that build character and identity. Leah was the first woman to serve on a religious council and although she was confirmed by Israel’s Supreme Court she made the point that she would never had had the opportunity had Yerucham’s council not stood up for her.
Given Yerucham’s efforts in creating a Bedouin village on town designated lands in the face of almost universal opposition across Israel it is obvious to us now that Yerucham is not only unique in its people, its natural attractions, its central Negev location, and its educational opportunities but also in its willingness to take risks to do the right thing, and therefore all the more worthy of Miami-Dade Federation support.