Three of Israel’s top tennis players, Andy Ram, Jonathan Erlich and Harel Levy, arrived in New York last week to compete in the US 2009 Open championships, one of the most prestigious tournaments in the tennis world.

Prior to the tournament, they met in Manhattan with dozens of New York teens and their parents. The Israeli pros gave a tennis lesson, spoke about Israel and presented gifts they brought with them.

For many of the teens, meeting the Israeli sportsmen was a dream come true. “I’m a tennis fan and play every day so obviously I know these three guys. They are excellent players,” said Donovan, a 15-year-old from Manhattan. “Andy won in Wimbledon and he plays much better than a lot of American tennis players,” he added.

The tennis workshop was organized by Israel’s Consul General in New York, Assaf Shariv, who initiated a program that brings over Israeli singers, dancers, authors and athletes to meet with Americans and show them facets of Israel that they rarely see on the news.