Jerusalem Students Visit the States in November

Yael (left) and Siwar
Two students from Hand in Hand's Jerusalem high school toured the West Coast of the United States in November 2010.

Yael Keinan, 15, and Siwar Eid, 16, spent two weeks in California and Oregon. Stops included Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco and Portland.

Highlights of their whirlwind itinerary included Disneyland, a night hike in San Francisco, and lots of shopping. But their schedules were also packed with donor meetings and speaking engagements at schools, synagogues and other community groups. They were powerful and articulate ambassadors of Hand in Hand's work,  raising awareness and funds at every stop. 

Fluent in Arabic, Hebrew and English, the girls switched easily and frequently between the three when talking with each other.  They have been close friends for many years, and are affectionate and teasing. 

"We get a lot of criticism, all the time, about going to an integrated school," Yael said. "We learn how to deal with it. When people ask why should we go to a mixed school, we just answer, 'Why not?'

"We're trying to find a mutual language to dialogue with each other," she adds. "It goes deeper than just sitting next to each other in class."

Portland's Jewish Review published a story about their visit. Or click here to read a profile of Siwar. 

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