A Jewish pen pal programme begun by a 22-year old in Cleveland and boosted by the international coronavirus lockdown has welcomed dozens of British participants in recent months, with others asked to sign up.
Madison Jackson from Ohio said 36 British Jews had already got involved with the Global Jewish Pen Pal Programme, communicating with other Jews of a similar age in different countries in order to build friendships, start conversations and spread horizons.
“People can choose to communicate with their pen pal through email, video-call or hand-written letters,” she said. “You get to learn about Jewish life around the world.”
The programme sends out conversation starters, highlights a pen pal pair every month, shares Jewish recipes and fun facts from other countries, and hosts pen pals as guests on a radio show called ‘The Pen Pal Perspective.’
Speaking to Jewish News, Jackson said: “There are 36 participants from the United Kingdom – 32 from England and four from Scotland – ranging in age from 16 to 77.”
Among those in England is 16-year old Tabi, who said she had been paired with Miriam. “We get along really well and ended up having loads in common.” Similarly, Yaffa from Manchester, 23, said his pen pal was “such a good match,” adding: “This is something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Jackson said she hoped that the programme could “provide a connection to Jews around the world who feel isolated from Jewish communities,” adding: “It’s free and open to Jewish individuals of any age who can read and write in English.”
Anyone interested in signing up can email: firstname.lastname@example.org