Saturday, December 6, 2014

Sister Act

For 41 years, San Francisco has enjoyed a "sister city" relationship with that other "City by the Bay", Haifa.  Both cities have a diverse population, are centers for high tech innovation and are located astride an earthquake fault.  Both cities are "sanctuary cities ' as well, with Haifa providing sanctuary for the beleaguered people of the Bahia faith.

The sisters are about to get closer. Within the next year or so, San Francisco's mayor, Ed Lee will visit Haifa to continue to build a foundation of cultural collaboration and innovation between the two cities.

Via the J Weekly, the Northern California Jewish Bulletin

"I am excited to announce that I plan to take a sister-city visit to Haifa very soon," Lee said. "But we're not going to wait until 2016 to deepen our ties with Israel. I am also excited to announce that, after conversations with Consul General Andy David, I have directed my arts commission to move forward with a cultural exchange right away....

"We are going to build around the theme of arts and innovation, seeking out the most cutting-edge and interesting artists in Israel and developing a strong exchange program with San Francisco-based artists," Lee said. "I am excited to see what these creative minds come up with."

The San Francisco Arts Commission and the S.F.-based Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest will spearhead the cultural exchange, and the JCRC, the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation, the San Francisco-Haifa Sister City Committee and Israeli officials will collaborate on the initiative, according to Arthur Wachtel, chairman of the sister city committee.

The sister city relationship has the potential to open up new venues of innovation, cooperation and creative exchanges between our "Cities by the Bay", brightening the future for all of our people.

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