Boston Mifgash – Final Weekend

Over our concluding Boston mifgash weekend, which was relatively airily-scheduled, we were still able to come together no less than three times as a community - we welcomed shabbat and had dinner together at Congregation Beth Elohim, where three of our teens were honored to share beautiful sermons they prepared (attached below); we celebrated our second havdallah, sang karaoke together, and wrote letters to to one another; and finished with today's farewell BBQ, masterfully orchestrated and executed by David Strauss and his crew who didn't let a little bit of rain get between them and our plans.

In between these gatherings, along with their host families, our teens spent their weekend apple picking, bowling, pumpkin carving, and spending some quality time at home with their hosts and friends. In addition to all these wonderful activities that this beautiful New England (half) weekend provided us with, our teens also had the chance to reflect on all they have experienced in the course of the past 10 days, deepen the relationships they have quickly formed, and think together on how to maintain these ties over the next four months.

Today, as our teary Israeli friends rushed to board their delayed bus (it had to happen at some point of the trip), with their heavy luggage and even heavier hearts, holding firmly to their farewell letters, we marked the conclusion of chapter one of our HiBuR journey. Very soon the natural feeling of missing and longing will make way to great anticipation, as we think of how great it will be to reunite in Ben Gurion airport in roughly 110 days time.

I would to extend a special thank you for the following people, who made this chapter of HiBuR possible:

  • The BHC committee and Marla Olsberg, for their support and guidance throughout the process of recruiting, planning, and implementing the mifgash. Special thanks to BHC for connecting us with Facing History and Ourselves this year, whose workshop was one of the highlights of our week.
  • The clergy and staff at Congregations Beth El, B'nai Torah, Beth Elohim, Or Atid, and Kerem Shalom - thank you for opening your doors to us, traveling with us, conversing with us, and generally, sharing your worlds with us for a week.
  • Our hosting families, for housing, feeding, driving (sometimes a lot more than just their guests), and most of all - loving our Israeli guests. Our parents know better than anyone how demanding this week is, and they all braved through it.
  • David Strauss and family, for holding the flame of this program, constantly supporting and improving it.

 (done, but not completed) תם ולא נשלם

In their own words

Benjamin's D'var Torah

This week's parsha is about the 7 days of creation and how God created the world and rested on the seventh day. For the kids doing the HiBuR program, it was also a week of creation, as we created close friendships, inside jokes, and memories. God brought the world together to make it complete, just as this program has brought all of these amazing teens together, making us feel whole and connected to our Jewish identities. We created friendships that will last us a lifetime and will connect us to Israel even more than we already are.

Right from the first video chat we had, all of the other teens and I were so excited to connect with other teens from our sister city, Haifa. All of the students from Hugim were friendly and kind to us and for the next month pure excitement for this experience was created. Finally, it was time to get on a bus and go down to New York City to spend the weekend there with the Israelis.

We arrived and immediately became really close friends. Throughout the weekend, we had a mix of museums that helped us create new meaning to our Jewish identities and fun places to take pictures for Instagram and to go shopping, which helped us create memories and experiences.

The Americans spent the past week in school which only created headaches and homework assignments, but knowing that I was going to go home after school to spend time with these friends of mine really made this week truly special to me. We went to malls, temples and workshops together and had so much fun together.

This week has created many new interests for me, as we’ve expanded our Hebrew vocabulary a lot this week, with words like מלפפון and phrases like לא אני אתה. I would like to continue to learn more Hebrew words, to travel to Israel more often in my life and to try knaffe, something that Israelis really seem to like.

This created memories for me too, from the human pyramid at 5 in the morning at Beth El, to being in Central Park with our Israelis for the first time, to rolling up the Torah on Simchat Torah, and to many other things that we were able to accomplish. This week created so many things for us, as God created in the world. I would trade anything to do it again and I can’t wait to be with everyone in Israel again.

Ayelet and Noga's D'var Torah
Hello, our names are Noga and Ayelet and we are from Haifa, Israel. Today we are going to talk about our experience in Boston.
So פרשת השבוע is Bereshit and Bereshit is the creation of the world we live in.We are going to walk you through the week we had in Boston together through the days in which God created.
In the first day God created light. The light we had was when we first arrived to Boston and celebrated simchat torah. At first we were a little bit confused but we slowly got the hang of it. All of the happiness, dancing, being together as a family, and we went back home to our hosts houses with a big smile on our faces.
In the second day God separated the water and the ocean from the skies and the clouds. Our experience of water was the מים חיים מקווה. In which we learned about the purpose of the mikveh and holiness it gives us.

In the third day God created everything that grows from the earth. Our experience of earth was sorting and packing food that was gleaned from the earth for the ones who needed it.

In the forth day god created the lights that shine above us. It relates to is by the Havdallah that we did in New York and we talked about the differences between the Israelis and Americans and we sang the song with glow sticks and a lot of lights.

In the fifth day God created the animals of the land and the sea. Our experience of earths animals was the wild life in the Boston area ,the squirrels the birds and the bunnies.

In the sixth day God created the human being. Our connection to this creation are the new friendships between us and the American and their families and we are very grateful that they opened their homes to us.

In the seventh day God rested and enjoyed the peaceful of the world he created. And when we were in Walden Pond we heard the story of Thoreau living two years in the woods. When silently we walked around the pond we felt the feeling of peace all around us from the woods, the pond, the still air, and the beautiful trees and plants.