Letter to Milwaukee from the catchball delegation

 

A Mosaic of a Thousand Magical Pieces.

How do we begin to describe a weeklong of emotional, spiritual and magical experiences, through which we feel that we gained ten-fold what we planned to offer?

We met as a group of players and coaches without knowing each other before, and we return home with a great sense of closeness and sisterhood, full of inspiring experiences; much like extended family.

Over the week of Feb. 3-11 we were so fortunate to be enveloped with an abundance of generosity and kindness.

We taught and coached catchball. The balls were flying in the air in different and creative ways. We danced, jumped, sang, got a little crazy, smiled, constantly laughed and we were even moved to tears along with more than 70 women between the ages of 14 to 70-plus. A colorful celebration of beautiful faces, different backgrounds and beliefs. It was a great program which culminated at the final tournament in which we all came out winners and champions – locals and guests alike.

We planted the seeds for catchball in the “home field” and these budded overnight into a garden of enthusiasm and the joy of discovery.

Randee Zitelman who signed up with her Rosh Chodesh Chavurah, was bouncing on the court, giggling and explaining to us that she felt as if she had gone back 50 years to grade school.

Barbara Federlin, her friend, told us she hated gym class, and had a fear of the ball, but during this week managed to save strikes and even score points.

Josh, an 11-year-old, was thrilled to be cheering for his mom, Adria, who is usually the one on the sideline cheering for him.

And Ruby Hughey, 14, came to play with her mom and sister, taught us all a lesson in perseverance and determination.

Age, athletic or social skills barriers disappeared on the court. Consequently, new relationships were established.

Our initial thoughts are that there is true desire for developing and continuing catchball teams and practices in the community. We hope this desire will come to fruition with community support and professional catchball consultation.

And catchball balls were not the only things flying in the air – sparkles too!

Throughout the week we were fortunate to accumulate special, fascinating and even spiritual experiences. We had encounters with people and places which allowed us to learn and reflect about ourselves and also opened for many of us a window to glimpse the liberal, egalitarian celebration of Jewish life in Milwaukee as a great example of U.S. Jewry at large.

These magical moments are imprinted in our hearts, collectively and in each and every one of us. Therefore we are filled with gratitude for the opportunity to partake in this memorable initiative.

We wish to thank Sovev Kinneret Partnership2Gether of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

A heartfelt appreciation to the lay and professional leadership of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.

Also, to the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center for their hospitality and pampering in the spa and sport facilities.

And to our host families who opened their hearts and homes to us for the entire week.

A special thank you to the individuals with whom we had outstanding and spontaneous encounters, which ignited the sparks throughout the week.

To further matches and NETworking,

The P2G Catchball Delegation 2019

Dana Glov, Nurit Gat, Ronit Shemesh, Adi Maguri, Tamar Ztadik, Edna Lapidot and Adi Flenner