Ending the year on a high

Galilee Circus' end of year celebration represents a high  for all of us

The Arab and Jewish kids who come together to make circus with us are very special – which the whole world can now appreciate thanks to Cynthia Levinson's new book. They make new friends and help bring their respective communities together in trust, but they also work hard for their craft, follwoing a gruelling schedule of weekly practice sessions.   These sessions follow the school calendar and so, with the end of term approaching, the kids and their instructors gear up, as is traditional,  for a final show and party for the ''circus family'' of friends and family.   Their celebration of a successful year completed mirrors our feelings – the staff and board of Makom Bagalil, more formally the Galilee Foundation for Value Education.

But unless you are reading our newsletter for the first time you will understand that the year has been bitter-sweet for us.   We have achieved so much in all our endeavours – with the Circus; with our other Arab-Jewish programs, Neighbors and Young Leaders; with our Batei Midrash and other informal Jewish learning sessions; with FestivaLimmud, which took place again at the beginning of the month in Karmiel; and with so many other activities.   Nevertheless we have severely felt the impact of our reduced income in 2014, when so many visiting groups had to cancel due to the war in Gaza.

It is high testament to our staff that they have, without exception, redoubled their commitment, even as they have accepted reduced hours and other personal sacrifices.   Nobody has left for pastures new: a measure of the staff's belief in what it is we do: making Israel a better place for all its citizens.

But now to the praise for the people who make it possible, and have helped us avert the really iminent danger we faced earlier in the year: you!   Making a difference doesn't come cheap.   Everyone knows that everything costs money.   And because we want to reach all citizens, regardless of personal circumstances, then we have to subsidize those who would not otherwsie be able to take part.  All foundations and non-profits know this.   But despite planning for a rainy day, sometimes things take an unexpected turn, and this is when we rely on our friends.   And you have done us proud!

Everyone who has supported us, and continues to do so, whether financially, or by being an ambassador for us, opening doors to more supporters for us, has in a very real sense contributed directly to our goals and supported our ongoing vision: to build the Galilee as a pluralistic, safe, shared society for all its citizens.