Sister City Program presents original art to United States Embassy in Jerusalem


Merritt Island youth recalls long association with Israeli city

(Cocoa, FL) June 27, 2018 –  Praising the close ties between Cocoa and a city in Israel, Jordan Miles, age 21 from Merritt Island, presented a gift of art to the U.S Embassy in Jerusalem on June 25, 2018.  The Sister City Program of Cocoa, Florida and Beit Shemesh, Israel, had commissioned the artwork to honor Israel’s 70th birthday on May 14, 2018, and celebrate the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

“Today we are gathered here to acknowledge a partnership, a friendship, and a long-term relationship between two cities, but more importantly two amazing countries,” said Miles, who has spent the last year in Israel volunteering with the Bridges for Peace Zealous program to help new immigrants, Holocaust survivors and the poor.

The art, “Hamsa-Chai-Dove” by Orlando artist Judith Segall, uses symbols to express a hope for “Peace, Life, and Divine Protection.”  Segall said her creative process “goes beyond the basic elements of color, composition and form in order to provoke thought and evoke emotion.”  

Miles visited Beit Shemesh in December 2016 as part of the Sister City Peace Ambassador Tour.  Harley Stark, the Director of International Relations for Beit Shemesh, praised the “remarkable friendship between two communities, separated by thousands of miles; but which are close together in each other’s hearts.”

Miles’s mother Theresa Miles carried the framed artwork to Israel in May.  She has been involved in the Sister City program since 2007 and served as the first Director of the Sister City Program.  “My mom wanted to create a living Bridge between two cities: which is partnerships, genuine people-to-people relationships and friends for a lifetime,” said Miles.

Lisa Bess Wishman accepted the art on behalf of the U.S. Embassy.  She is the director of the American Center, a section of the U.S. Embassy where the art will be on display.  The Center serves as an educational and cultural center with activities aimed at the Israeli public.

“We are so grateful for this opportunity to bless the people of Israel,” said former Sister City Program director Ron Shelton.

Miles said, “from the Sister City Program we say thank you for giving us this opportunity to stand by your side through the good times and the bad and that we will always be here to support you.”