Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Last year, I made trips to New York City, Providence, Rhode Island; Boston, Massachusetts and Los Angeles to meet with Cape Verdean - American and Jewish communities and inform them about the goals of CVJHP. Thanks to a generous grant from the Stanley and Marion Bergman Family Charitable Fund and to the Cape Verdean Airline, TACV, I was able to travel to Cape Verde in December 2008 to visit and assess the state of the Jewish cemeteries. I also met with local officials and descendants of the Jewish families who vowed to resuscitate AMICAEL--the Cape Verde-Israel Friendship Society in an effort to assist with all aspects of the Project in Cape Verde. During that trip, I also established relationships between CVJHP and the mayors of the islands where the cemeteries are located. They pledged strong cooperation and support. Prime Minister Jose Neves, Minister of Culture Emanuel Veiga and Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Brito as well as other officials, reiterated their commitment to the Project.
Much progress was made in 2008 to move the Project foward in the US and Cape Verde. We built a strong board and advisory board. We also had some success in fundraising. I traveled to New York City, Providence, RI; Boston, MA and Los Angeles to inform and sensitize Cape Verdean American and Jewish communities about CVJHP goals. In the process, we also managed to identify and contact potential funders and sponsors. Thanks to the Stanley and Marion Bergman Family Charitable Fund for their generous contribution which made possible my visit to Cape Verde earlier this month. I traveled to Sao Tiago, Sao Vicente, Santo Antao and Boavista to evaluate the state of the dilapidated Jewish cemeteries and meet and establish partnerships with local officials and descendants of the Jewish families. A big thank you also to TACV -- Cape Verde National Airline for providing transatlantic air fare and a discount on inter-island flights. Needless to say, we are grateful for the generous support and advice from our board members: Allan Reich, Jack Edlow and Ambassador Herman Cohen, all of whom have provided invaluable financial and in-kind support to our effort to honor the Jews of Cape Verde and their descendants.