A Date With Sephardim

A Date With Sephardim

Click on continuity, and caring.
That’s what more than 600 people, mostly from New York’s Sephardic community, were doing last Saturday night at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea when they came together to mingle, maybe meet a mate, and raise money to buy computers for poor Israeli children.
The event was sponsored by the Young Leadership Division of the Israeli Sephardic Educational Foundation (ISEF) on behalf of “Screens for Kids.”
ISEF president and cofounder Nina Weiner said the turnout is important in cultivating the next generation of donors for Israel and Jewish projects.
But equally important, said Young Leadership chairperson Katrin Yaghoubi Sosnick, is bringing together all segments of the city’s diverse Sephardic singles to meet with each other and Ashkenazic singles.
“If you’re interested in Jewish continuity as strongly as I am, the only way to have continuity is to have diversity,” she said.
She proudly noted that every Sephardic community was represented at the event, including Yemenite, Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Morocco.
Traditionally, the insular Sephardic communities have prohibited, if not frowned upon, dating Ashkenazis.
“There is still a barrier, but our generation is starting to branch out. It’s changing. We created this group to speed up the change,” Sosnick said.
In its three years, “Screens” events have funded a variety of educational projects in Israel.
For example, in the town of Yerucham the group discovered that children not only needed computers, but teachers. In response, ISEF students from Ben-Gurion University were sent to teach as part of a three-year program, also supported by Motorola and Intel.
Funds raised will help buy computers for students at Technion high school who participate in ISEF’s “Bridge to College” program.
“We have several “Bridge to College” projects operating very successfully throughout Israel,” said ISEF coordinator Ofira Yaish. “This program assists students of high school age to complete their high school course work enabling them to go on to college.”

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