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Fairfield County Friends

June, 2011

It all started in October of last year. Mayor Ron Nachman’s friend Gary Gerson heard that a group was planning to travel from Greenwich, Connecticut to Israel on a tour. As our friends tend to do, Gary immediately suggested that they come to visit the City of Ariel. Steve and Margie Black took his advice and brought the group to Ariel on Friday, October 8th.

At the time of their visit, Mayor Nachman was undergoing chemotherapy treatment for bladder cancer. Thankfully he has since had a complete recovery – but that wasn’t the case back in October. Mayor Nachman got a special leave from the hospital for a few hours. He caught a ride to Ariel and gave the group a personal tour of this legendary city.

Our guests from Connecticut were duly impressed, as is generally the case with groups who come to Ariel for the first time. They asked incredulously: “why haven’t we been here before? Why aren’t the Federations bringing their groups to this City? Why doesn’t AIPAC take you here?”

The participants decided to do their part to spread the word about the City of Ariel – a paradigm of Zionism in action. In March 2011 Rick Lund and Margie Black hosted a presentation about Ariel, delivered by American Friends of Ariel’s Executive Director Avi Zimmerman. Those who heard about Ariel for the first time were intrigued. Those who had been to Ariel were motivated.

Rick knew that it would be important to forge a meaningful bond between his friends and the City of Ariel. A fundraising project was identified to give the Fairfield County community an opportunity to make a difference in Ariel. The Healing Hearts Home Renewal project – a program which empowers teenagers by giving them the opportunity to volunteer in home repairs for Ariel’s disabled and elderly – was chosen. This creative cause is a highly effective project both for teens and the disabled. And now, thanks to recent contributions from the members of the Fairfield County community, the program can continue to operate.

American Friends of Ariel looks forward to hosting our friends from Fairfield County on their future visits to Israel, and showing them the important impact that their gifts have made.

Special thanks to Steven and Margery Black, Gail Levine and Rick Lund, Steven and Leora Levy, Rise and Marty Mattler, Irv Goldstein and Helen Keats, and Dr. Richard and Amy Lipton for their forthcoming generosity.