The Edmond Sun

July 29, 2013

Israeli Friendship Caravan makes stops in Oklahoma

William F. O'Brien
Special to The Sun

EDMOND — Last week, a group of young people from the State of Israel that are part of the Israel Friendship Caravan performed at the Temple B’nai Israel in Oklahoma City at an event sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Oklahoma City to commemorate Marcy Price’s 15 years of service as program director for that organization.

Edie Roodman, who is the executive director of the Jewish Federation, addressed the gathering and spoke of how Price had instituted a series of programs that had created greater unity among the Jewish community in central Oklahoma and also worked to build bridges to other faith communities in the state. Price also addressed the gathering and spoke with emotion about how it had been a privilege to work with all of those who were in attendance  and that she was grateful that she had had the opportunity to bring together members of the  local Jewish community and other groups in the Oklahoma City area. She also said that she looked forward to remaining active in the federation’s activities.

Price’s mother, Rita Moskowitz, was in attendance, and she told of how her mother’s work for the Jewish community in her native Tulsa had inspired her to do similar work when she came to Oklahoma City decades ago.

The performers from the Israel Friendship Caravan sang and danced to Israeli songs that told of life there, and they also individually spoke about the different parts of Israel from where they had come. They also danced with many of the guests who were present and presented them with small Israeli flags.

Several members of the  group were members of the Ethiopian Jewish community that were brought to Israel in the 1980s in a series of airlifts in which Edie Roodman had participated. A visual presentation that told of the creation of Israel in 1948 by a vote of the United Nations was shown as well.

One of the leaders of the group, Nimrod Niv, explained that the Israel Friendship Caravan is  one of the programs operated by the Israel Scouts, which is similar to the Girl Scout and Boy Scout organizations that exist in the U.S. Niv, who is  24, said that he recently completed his compulsory service in the Israeli Army and that he liked working with the young people who are  part of Israel Friendship Caravan. He reported that the caravan works to create friendship between the people of Israel and the United States, and that his group has been to New York, Florida, Texas and that stops were planned in other states as well during the next several weeks.

Niv said he and the other members of the group have been warmly received at every place they have performed, and that the people of Oklahoma City were especially generous and welcoming to them. At the end of the event the patrons were invited to purchase CDs and T-shirts from the performers so that the caravan can continue to work to foster ties between Israel and the U.S.

WILLIAM F. O’BRIEN is an Oklahoma City attorney.