During a visit to Beit Shemesh as the guest of Mayor Moshe Abutbul, United States Ambassador Dan Shapiro met with leaders of the Ramat Beit Shemesh Foundation. The Ambassador participated in a presentation describing the foundation’s future plans and activities.
Addresing Shapiro and many members of the community who were present, Mayor Abutbul spoke about the importance of the foundation and its projects “that benefit all of the city’s diverse population/" The Mayor said that Beit Shemesh was fortunate to have people of action and vision among the city’s residents.
Rabbi Shmuel Eidensohn, Chairman of the Foundation, himself a new immigrant from the U.S., commented that the American community of Ramat Beit Shemesh was a very accomplished one, with excellent educational institutions and social action organizations. “One of the goals of the Ramat Beit Shemesh Foundation is to strengthen the connection between American Jewry and our town, the leading choice of American expatriates in Israel. It is important to build a strong relationship between our community and American Jewry, because American Jews care deeply about the future of Israel and will be engaged by the incredible challenges and potential which Beit Shemesh offers. The large population of American olim here makes this relationship only more natural,” he said.
Yehuda Berzon, Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, told the Ambassador that “in uncertain financial times, municipal projects can’t depend only on government funding for their activities, making local, grassroots philanthropic ventures more important than ever.”
The Ambassador was presented with a work of art by Moshe Braun (also an oleh from the U.S.), a locally renowned artist active in the Foundation’s new Center for the Arts, established in conjunction with the Beit Shemesh Municipality. The painting features motifs of Beit Shemesh from biblical times to contemporary day.