Village of Great Neck Plaza becomes Sister City with Tiberias, Israel
At the November 20, 2002 Board of Trustees meeting an historic event in the history of Great Neck Plaza was reached. At this meeting, Mayor Jean Celender and the Board of Trustees welcomed visitors from Tiberias, Israel consisting of a delegation headed by Mayor Benjamin Kiryati, city councilmen Eitan Oved and Avi Gozlan, and Ayalim Elementary School Principal, Nahum Nahum, and signed a "Sister Cities" Agreement adopting each other's communities in a long-term relationship to develop friendly ties, exchange ideas and delegations and promote educational, economic and cultural initiatives between the two municipalities. Mayor Celender introduced the Tiberias delegation members who came to the meeting with a bouquet of flowers for the Mayor and specially-designed artwork plaques by a Tiberian artist for the Mayor and Board members showing a picturesque view of the City of Tiberias with palm trees, which are part of the emblem for the City.
After unanimously adopting a resolution formalizing the Sister City relationship, Mayor Celender presented Mayor Kiryati with a key to the village and a New York State flag, which was provided by New York State Assemblyman Tom DiNapoli. Mayor Celender remarked that the Village does not have its own flag, to which Mayor Kiryati responded, "This could be a wonderful, creative project to be undertaken by students from our two cities to create for the Village."
The Great Neck Plaza Sister Cities People for People, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, which was formed to share a common desire for friendship, good will and cultural interaction to promote peace, understanding of all traditions, values and cultural heritage between Tiberias, Israel and her Sister City, Great Neck Plaza, NY, U.S.A., for purposes of mutual benefit.
Tree Planted to Celebrate Sister Cities Tie with Tiberias, Israel
To celebrate the Sister Cities affiliation between the Village of Great Neck Plaza and the City of Tiberias, Israel, a tree was planted in the Ielpi Firefighters Memorial Park (Jon's Park) on Grace Avenue during Mayor Benjamin Kiryati's recent visit to Great Neck. Joining in on the ceremony were Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender, Mayor Kiryati, Great Neck Park Commissioners Chairman Robert Lincoln, Jr., Ruth Tamarin and Ivar Segalowitz and Sister Cities Board of Directors members Albert Nassim and Danny Arbusman. Mayor Celender made a brief introduction to explain the tree species that was selected by Village Consultant Harry Perlman. Mayor Celender charged Harry with the assignment of trying to find a tree species indigenous to both Israel, an arid desert-like climate and Great Neck Plaza. Not an easy chore. Mr. Perlman selected a Cedrus Deodara Cedar (Cedar of Lebanon), which is a lovely ornamental landmark tree and is expected to grow to between 40 to 60 feet high. Stated Mayor Celender, "Harry did such a wonderful job of selecting an appropriate tree to signify this budding friendship; a beautiful, majestic tree and one that is a fine symbol for our Sister Cities connection." We look to build a living bridge and strong relationships, with longevity and many remembrances.
Mayor Celender then recited a Planter's Poem by Lucy Larcom, which reads as follows:
He who plants a tree - plants hope.
He who plants a tree - plants joy.
He who plants a tree - plants youth.
He who plants a tree - plants love.
Gifts that grow are best.
Hands that bless are blest.
Plant! Life does the rest!
Heaven and earth help who plants a tree.
And his work, it's own reward shall be.
Mayor Kiryati expressed his appreciation for the tree and its significance for the Sister Cities relationship. He talked about Cedar of Lebanon trees and mentioned that they are used extensively around temples in Israel for their strength and their symbolism of hope. He expressed his wishes for it to grow tall and strong and to be a symbol for the strengthening of people-to-people connections between Tiberias and Great Neck.
Chairman Robert Lincoln, Jr. focused his remarks on the Sister Cities relationship and its emphasis on community. He expressed the Park District's goal to strengthen ties with its "sister villages" on the peninsula, including Great Neck Plaza and the recent master plan embraced by our two entities to refurbish Jon's Park. It is their hope to build partnerships with all of the peninsula municipalities to develop plans for park maintenance and long-term improvement programs to benefit the community. Commissioners Tamarin and Segalowitz also welcomed the Sister Cities project and expressed their enjoyment to have participated in the wonderful activities and interaction between the two cities.