Impact Stories:

Jewish Federation Adds Third Community–Warsaw, Poland–to the Pittsburgh–Karmiel / Misgav Partnership

The Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh added Warsaw, Poland, as the third community in its Partnership2Gether (P2G) “sister city” program during P2G’s December 2018 Steering Committee meeting. The committee consisted of lay leaders from Pittsburgh and their counterparts from Karmiel and Misgav, the existing Partnership2Gether cities.

The vote took place after a two-year process of exploring the feasibility of adding another community to the Pittsburgh–Karmiel/Misgav relationship. Extending Partnership2Gether will strengthen the Jewish Pittsburgh relationship with Jews in Israel and around the world and will provide a connection to the emerging Jewish community in Warsaw.

Partnership2Gether is a program of the Jewish Agency for Israel. Its mission is to connect and engage Jews with Israel and Israelis with global Jewry, to create a more united Jewish people. P2G will now extend its mission to connect Israelis and Pittsburghers to Jews from Warsaw through people-to-people programming.

Polish Jews’ roots and connections to Judaism and Jewish life were lost and suppressed during and after the Holocaust. Rabbi Michael Schudrich, chief rabbi of Poland, refers to the rebuilding of their community as an “ongoing process of discovery.” The Pittsburgh and Karmiel/Misgav Partnership now have the opportunity to take part in the rebuilding process as Jews in Warsaw rediscover their Jewish faith and revive their culture.

Chair of the Warsaw Connection Jan Levinson is eager to see what the future holds for the Partnership.

“Adding Warsaw, Poland, to our Partnership will enable us to truly put global Jewish peoplehood into practice. Having another diaspora community that is outside of the United States can put a mirror up in front of our faces, both here in Pittsburgh and in Karmiel/Misgav, and help strengthen our Jewish identities and strengthen our relationships with each other.”

Jan Levinson, Chair of the Warsaw Connection

Director of the Partnership Unit at the Jewish Agency for Israel Andrea Arbel explained that Pittsburgh is not the first city to extend its Partnership2Gether platform to additional or third communities. The Central Region Consortium/Western Galilee Partnership added Budapest to its Partnership about nine years ago.

“The goal is two-fold. We include smaller Jewish communities in the Partnership2Gether Platform that do not have the capacity to maintain a traditional bilateral partnership, while simultaneously allowing individuals and communities to gain a more diversified and complex understanding of peoplehood.”

Andrea Arbel, Director of the Partnership Unit at the Jewish Agency for Israel,

“With Warsaw joining our relationship, we have a unique opportunity to make an imprint and impact on a Jewish community that has many young people involved who are eager to make connections with Jews from other communities and in Israel,” said Debbie Swartz, overseas planning associate at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. The Western Galilee Partnership, along with the Jewish Agency for Israel, has been a guide during the decision-making process.

To kick off the new relationship, four representatives from the Warsaw Jewish community and the chief rabbi of Poland, Rabbi Michael Schudrich, have been invited to the Pittsburgh–Karmiel/Misgav Joint Steering Committee on June 16–19, 2019 in Karmiel/Misgav.

The same four representatives will also come to Pittsburgh for the Partnership’s midyear Steering Committee meeting, in December 2019.

The addition of the third region to the Pittsburgh and Karmiel/Misgav Partnership will strengthen Warsaw’s bond with Israel. That relationship will in turn further strengthen Pittsburgh’s bond with Israel. Partnership2Gether’s vision is “Strong, Vibrant, and Connected Jewish Communities With Israel at Their Hearts.”

For more information about the Partnership, contact Debbie Swartz at 412.992.5208 or

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