The Baltimore-Ashkelon Partnership got a boost recently when the visiting Ashkelon delegation sat down with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.
“We’re trying to see what emerges, just some sort of collaboration, at a municipal level,” said Nina Rosenzwog, Baltimore chair of the organization. “So the whole meeting focused on the whole
concept of inter-city relationships and how to increase the value to both cities.”
Officials from the city of Baltimore, six representatives from Ashkelon and members of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and Baltimore Jewish Council all attended the June 18 meeting, which lasted about a half hour.
In addition to discussing ways to work together more effectively, the group from Ashkelon taught the mayor about the Israeli coastal city and exchanged gifts representative of both cities. For Rawlings-Blake, the visitors presented a replica of an old wine decanter to symbolize Ashkelon’s status as Israel’s historical wine center. The mayor returned the gesture with glasses featuring the Baltimore city skyline.
Though the cities do not have an official sister city agreement, Rosenzwog said the partnership, which was established 11 years ago, between the two port cities allows for many Baltimoreans and Ashkelonim to feel a personal connection to a Jewish population halfway around the globe.
“The goal is to make sure that Israel remains relevant,” she said. “And it’s working.”