After talking it over with her mother, they decided to contact Meir Panim, who connected
them with a sixth-grade class in a development town in Southern Israel known as Kiryat-
Back in New York, Isabelle (nicknamed “Izzy”) formed a group of classmates and friends
who were interested in connecting with peers in Israel. They even designed personalized
stationary for an ambitious pen-palling project.
Over the course of eight months, the girls exchanged a flurry of letters and gifts, and
created some very special friendships.
But the highlight of this project was undoubtedly the Bat Mitzvah celebration, which took
place at the end of July. Izzy, together with a group of 15 friends and family members,
traveled to Israel for the occasion.
They were joyously welcomed by their new friends, who had anticipated this meeting for
so long. The girls from New York and from Kiryat Malachi celebrated together like long-
lost friends. The Kiryat Malachi girls prepared a beautiful welcoming dance and the boys
performed a “Kapuera” dance as well. Gifts were exchanged, with Izzy’s parents giving
out beautiful white tunics to all the girls at the celebration.
This unforgettable event was filled with song and dance, tears and laughter, and memories
that will last a lifetime.
“I believe we built a bridge uniting two different worlds but still with a simple, common
denominator – both sides valued the friendship they formed. I know this was a memorable
experience for Izzy and can only hope the girls continue to invest in their friendships,” said
Tali Sahati, Izzy’s mom. “We were very lucky to have had Meir Panim and their dedicated
staff make the ‘shiduch’ and bring this project to fruition.”