Category Archives: Boston 2018-19

Boston Mifgash – Until We Meet Again

The concluding weekend of the Boston Mifgash is an emotional time. Friendships that have just begun will soon have to adjust to a distanced reality. A new discovered land will turn into a memory. Newly welcomed house guests are slowly packing their suitcases. First – Shabbat, dinner, family time, are turning into last.

While trying to balance the time we spend together as a group, with the time we spend together as families, and together with friends, the weekend program included a joint Shabbat dinner and service at Kerem Shalom, led by the wonderful Rabbi Darby, a community Havdallah led by the inspiring Rabbi Polisson of Or Atid, teen concluding activity, and a farewell BBQ. The powers that are this year’s HiBuR have managed to create space and time for a bonfire and a sleepover as well. All within 48 hours.

Gathered in David’s back yard, as the airport bus patiently, yet presently awaits its role, we tried to verbalize and share our individual experiences from the mifgash. Words just weren’t enough. Another hug, another picture, another tear. A collection of teens, parents, siblings, teachers. A new community, only trying to say, Lehitraot.

Thank you.

The Boston Mifgash is a community driven event, which would not have been possible without the contribution, participation, and hard work of all the following people:

For mentoring, guiding, building bridges, and funding:

  • Marla Olsberg, Pam Weil, and Iris Schor of the CJP

For inviting us into their synagogues, learning, sharing, and celebrating with us:

  • Rabbi Josh Breindel, Cantor Lorel Zar-Kessler, Beth Schine, and Jane Johnston of Congregation Beth El
  • Rabbi Lisa Eiduson and Orna Sonneschein of Congregation B’nai Torah
  • Beth Goldstein of Congregation Beth Elohim
  • Rabbi Louis Polisson, Orna Sonnenschein, and Lauren Kaplan of Congregation Or Atid
  • Rabbi Darby Leigh and Nancy Kaplan of Kerem Shalom
  • Geri Segel of Temple Beth Sholom
  • Rabbi Andy Vogel, Rabbi Shoshana Meira Friedman, and Sam Blumberg of Temple Sinai

For relentlessly leading and amazing group of Israeli students:

  • Hagit Greenberg
  • Evyatar Guzner
  • Inbal Gilad

For guiding the group and traveling by bus, foot, and ferry, in New York and in Boston:

  • Rabbi Lisa Eiduson
  • Scott Newman

And last, but definitely not least, for being a source of inspiration for the program, for guiding, inspiring, inviting us into our home, and making sure everyone have the best experience they could wish for – the amazing David Strauss.

Boston Mifgash – Boston, Day 7

After 5 days in “Boston”, the Israeli group have finally made it to… Boston! They started the day with a private tour of the Massachusetts State House led by State Representative Adrian Madaro, who taught the group how the American government system works, what his role is, as well as answered many intelligent questions coming from our teens.

Walking through the New England Holocaust Memorial on Union Street, the teens made their way for a a quick visit at Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, for some noshing and shopping. From there, the group hopped the bus to Brookline, to visit Temple Sinai, one of this year’s HiBuR partnering synagogues. The teens met with Rabbi Andy Vogel, had an interesting conversation about the history of the temple, and were sent on a Jewish  scavenger hunt around Brookline.

Their last stop for the day was the Boston famous Duck Tour. After almost missing the bus (or boat) with heavy traffic in the Boston area, they teamed up with several of the American teens, and the group was able to board the amphibian vehicle and embark on this memorable tour.

On Friday the teens will meet with Rabbi Josh Breindel of Congregation Beth El, visit with Hillel and the Museum of MIT, and celebrate Shabbat at Kerem Shalom in Concord.

Massachusetts State House was incredible!! Adrian was so nice and showed us around and this is definitely one of my favorite places we visited! Duck tour was really awesome and we got to see how beautiful Boston is! This day was awesome and I had so much fun!
– Noa K


Today was so fun. We have been to the state house and we got a really amazing treatment and we saw things that regularly people couldn’t go and see it. For example we got out to the balcony and it was so cool. Then we went to the synagogue called Sinai it was so beautiful. Actually original it was a church and then they renovated it to synagogue.

– Ester S


I enjoyed the State House today especially I liked that it was a one-time opportunity
– Maya A

The duck tour was really fun! I liked when the bus got into the water and became a ship. Thank you very much today was so fun!!

– Goni A

I really enjoyed today when we went to the duck tours it was unique and very nice. Boston is very beautiful…..

– Elad A

The visit in the Massachusetts State House was very interesting and I loved the design there.
– Danielle S

Today was and still is awesome, I enjoyed the tour at the Massachusetts State House and the duck boat tour. I’m going to have a nice tasty dinner with Drew and his parents and I’m looking forward to it.

– Yarin H

Today was really fun, we met Adrian at the Massachusetts State House and he was very friendly and interesting. Quincy market was nice but we didn’t have enough time to do anything there. I really liked the tour, Boston is beautiful

– Noam S


Had a great time at the State House… The treasure hunt was short and quincy market was very fun. Had a blast with Yarin today.

– Nadav C

In the Duck tour at first we drove in Boston and then we sailed on the boat. It was unusual!
– Mika G


Today was a great day. We went to the State House and to a duck tour which was really fun  and we learned alot about the governments in USA and how they work.

– Guy S

Boston Mifgash – Boston, Days 5-6

If you are 15, it doesn’t get much less exciting than going to school on a Tuesday morning. But if you are 15 in a foreign country, or hosting a friend from across the ocean, going to school together is a very much the opposite. Luckily for our teens, this is exactly what they got to experience Tuesday morning, as our Israeli teens accompanied their American hosts to their respected schools. Among many other new things, some of them got to experience shop class for the first time.

While the Americans stayed for the second half of the day, the Israelis were picked up and brought to one of the most beautiful, serene, and poetic places in our region – Walden Pond. The Israelis practiced a silence contemplative walk along the pond (after being kindly kicked out of the visitor center for being too loud), all the way to the site of Thoreau’s cabin. At the cabin site, led by a Whitney Retalic of the Walden Woods Project, the teens discussed some of Thoreau’s teachings, and how they relate to the holiday of Sukkot, and to their lives as Jewish teens.

From the pond, the group divided into two – one group headed to Congregation Beth Elohim in Acton, and the second to Congregation B’nai Torah in Sudbury – two of the seven synagogues making up this year’s HiBuR. At the synagogues, the teens participated in their individual educational programs, interacted with the native students, as well as engaged in conversation with the local clergy.

As if this is not enough for a Tuesday, the Israelis reunited with their American hosts, and all together, along with a dozen pizza trays (courtesy of the amazing David Strauss), boarded the bus and headed to TD Garden to catch a Celtics game! Even though our local team did not end up winning, that did not seem to dim the wonderful experience our group had at the game, including making no less than three appearances on the jumbo screen!

On Wednesday, our Israeli teens visited the JCC in Newton, where they received the honor of having a private tour led by the CEO, Mark Sokol. Following the tour, the group continued to Mayyim Hayyim, one of the landmarks and prides of Jewish life in the Boston area, where they learned about this unique and pluralistic mikveh, and even participated in simulated tvila.(immersion).

As the teens were feeding their bodies with some American falafel, their souls were fed with a delightful conversation with Rabbi Lisa Eiduson of B’nai Torah and Cantor Lorel Zar-Kessler of Beth El. Together, they discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the Judaism they got to explore over the past week, as well as what they are familiar with from home.

To end the day, our Israeli group joined Congregation Or Atid’s educational program, played and sang with the young students, and had a lovely musical and spiritual experience with the congregation’s new rabbi, Louis Polisson.

On Thursday, the teens will explore Boston and visit another one of our partner synagogues, Temple Sinai of Brookline.

I was in American school today. Their school is very cool. And the American school is so different from the Israeli school. Today we went to a basketball game. Even though we lost it was awesome.

– Mika G

Well the basketball game was pretty nice I’d say because I’ve never been in one before so a NBA game as my first one is pretty special. Overall I enjoyed

– Yarin H

The arena is so big and everything is so awesome! I’m having so much fun! Thank you so much Shoni and David this is an unforgettable experience!!

– Noa K

This game is such a special experience for me thanks a lot Shoni and David!

– Maya A

Today was a very good day, I really liked Alex’s school. We saw very nice views in the lake, and I really enjoyed in the NBA game!!!!!!!

– Elad A

I started my day at Lincoln Sudbury high school, and it wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be. It was really big and different from Israel in many ways, so it was interesting to see the differences, but still how much fun can you have at school?
Next, we went to Walden Pond and had a quiet hike, which means we didn’t talk for a while so we can enjoy nature, and I really liked it.
Then we went to Hebrew school at B’nai Torah , and we read the prayers with the 3rd and 4th graders.
Lastly we went to a pre-NBA Basketball game. Even though I’m usually not a big fan of basketball, I really enjoyed the vibes there and yelling with everyone things that I didn’t even understand.

– Hila A

Boston Mifgash – From New York to New England, Days 3-4

Just before leaving NYC, we paid a visit to the popular High Line Park, an old railway converted into a boardwalk. The boardwalk is surrounded by shops and restaurants, including the famous Chelsea Market, home to a chef some of are Israelis were familiar with.

Arriving at Congregation Beth El in Sudbury, we were welcomed by a delicious potluck dinner prepared by our host families, which led us into one of the most exciting events of the Mifgash – Simchat Torah Celebration at Beth El. For the past decade, HiBuR groups have been the heart and soul of this celebration, and this year wasn’t any different. Our teens danced, sang, and two Israelis teens – Hila and Guy, were honored with reading from the Torah scroll which has been rolled out around the sanctuary. This year, Beth El had the privilege of hosting, in addition to the HiBuR group, a delegation of educators from Haifa, accompanied by their hosts from the CJP.

On Monday, the Israeli group received a traditional New England welcome. They started the day by having a hearty colonial breakfast at the historic Wayside Inn, the oldest running inn in the US, operating since 1716. The teens also had the chance to visit the inn’s grist mill, a true New England landmark.

The group continued with a tour in the town of Concord, where they traced the origins of the American Revolutionary War. Following the tour, our teens joined the Boston Gleaners, an organization that helps direct extra produce from farms to people in need. The Israeli teens and their teachers pulled up their sleeves and harvested a great amount of squash, which will be donated to different local food pantries and soup kitchens.

For the evening, the teens joined their American peers for their Hebrew School, at two of our partner synagogues – Kerem Shalom in Concord, and Beth El in Sudbury. The teens met up with both younger and older American students, and engaged in a variety of educational activities with them.

On Tuesday, the Israeli teens will be going to school with their hosts, and will get to experience an American high school. In the afternoon, the teens will explore Walden Pond and it’s rich history, will visit two more religious school, and will enjoy a very special treat in the evening…


The breakfast was so good! We ate waffles, eggs and potatoes. and the view there was beautiful.

– Mika N


Yesterday was long… I had much fun with Ethan and his family and I didn’t get to stay too long on simchat torah. Today was fun… Picking up squashes was nice and our activity with the Americans was good. So was the breakfast.

– Nadav C

Day three

Yesterday we walked on the High Line in the meatpacking district. The High Line used to be an elevated subway, and the tracks are still visible. It was also fascinating because that neighborhood used to be where meat was packaged and distributed, whereas today it is a very trendy neighborhood with restaurants and shops. We then had lunch and shopped in Chelsea Market before a five hour bus ride  back to Massachusetts. Finally, back at Beth El, we had a potluck and a celebration for Simchat Torah. Both Israeli and American students read from the Torah, and then we all danced. It was very cool to be able to expose the Israelis to what one aspect of American Reform Judaism looks like. Overall, Sunday was the perfect end to the weekend, and I am very excited for what is planned for the coming week!

– Sofia R

Yesterday was fun because we got to go to Chelsea market which I have never been before and it was a cool experience. Plus playing cards on the bus was really fun too.

– Ethan G


Yesterday was a fun day! We had a great walk on the highline!  And a amazing adventure at Chelsea market!

– Kristina D


Boston Mifgash – NYC, Day 2

How much of NYC can one see in one day? Apparently, a whole lot! From the Lower East Side to Midtown, our teens learned about the history of Jewish immigration to New York, competed in a challenging urban scavenger hunt, explored landmarks around Times Square, and celebrated a very special Havdallah 1,254 feet in the air. Again, no one better to share their adventures with but the teens themselves.

Yesterday was really fun because it was our second day together so we all knew each other better. It was really fun when we were all like dancing on the street and buying crazy sunglasses on Canal Street together.

Becca G


Yesterday we had so much fun going to many different places throughout the day. It was so cool going to the One World Trade Center and seeing the top of New York! I loved going to Times Square and getting even closer with everyone!

Amanda S

Yesterday we went on a scavenger hunt around time square. On the scavenger hunt we went to the M&M store and Grand Central Station. We also saw the building where SNL and the Late Night Show with Jimmy Fallon are filmed.

Alexa K


Yesterday was very fun, and I enjoyed all of the fun activities. I really felt like I bonded with others a lot more yesterday.

Eli T


I had a lot of fun. Exploring Times Square was really fun. I also found the Tenement museum Interesting and surprising because of the living conditions. I liked the scavenger hunt but it was difficult to stay engaged because of where we were.

Eli G

Yesterday was so much fun! I got to walk around with my new friends and explore Times Square and take pictures. It was also very cool to go to the Tenement Museum since I am learning about it in school.

Kate S


Saturday was an amazing experience with all the group! We learned lots of interesting stories about family’s history at the Tenement Museum! We had a fun time at Time Square along with doing a exciting scavenger hunt!

Kristina D


Yesterday was a really fun day I enjoyed going on Canal Street, going to Times Square, and the Freedom Tower which had a really beautiful view, but most of all I had a lot of fun hanging out with everyone even if we were just walking around. I feel that we have all gotten really close and I’m happy I get to interact with all of these people.

Alex S


Yesterday was cool going to the Tenement museum again. We got to go in smaller groups and spend time with each other in Time Dquare during a scavenger hunt and at night.

Ethan G
On the second day in New York, we went to the Tenement Museum, Chinatown, Times Square, and the Freedom Tower. At the Tenement Museum, we learned about the lives of first and second generation Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe living on the Lower East Side. Many of them worked very hard in factories for several hours a day with very little pay. Furthermore, we learned about the role of Jewish immigrants in the creation of labor unions, as well as how the community was affected following the immigration quotas that came during WWII. We then had lunch in Chinatown before exploring Times Square.  Finally, we went to the top of the Freedom Tower, where we had a Havdallah service. It was very beautiful to be holding the service with the entire city beneath us, but it was also incredibly meaningful to be doing it in a crowded place. To be practicing my Judaism publicly gave me immense pride and confidence. Overall, it was a wonderful second day, and I cannot wait for the rest of my time with this wonderful group!

Sofia R


Yesterday was indeed a special day. Packed with activities and very tiring I had a great time and liked everything. I liked the Times Square because it is a special site and it just shows what mankind are able to achieve.

Yarin H


The Times Square was a great experience and the view of New York from 102 floors was amazing.

Danielle S

I enjoyed yesterday being at the top of the tallest building in New York and seeing all of New York and I also enjoyed walking around Times Square.

Maya A

Yesterday was really fun. We went to World Trade Center-it was very unique and special.

Goni A


Yesterday was a fun day! We played scavenger hunt in the Time Squier, my team was so good! In Skyline the view was so beautiful!

Mika G


So this day was so fun and so intense we have done so many things. So the museum was so interesting and we saw how people lived so many years ago. I also very liked the hunt I think it really bonding. Also the Times Square was super cool I wish we had more time there.

Ester S


Boston Mifgash – NYC, Day 1

The wait is finally over. After months of anticipation, and weeks communicating online, our teens finally met in person. It is hard to believe this was only 24 hours ago, as so much has happened since. For the naked eye, watching who the teens sit next to on the bus, who they talk to when we walk the streets, who they share a meal with, it would be impossible to tell these are two groups of practically strangers.

I’ve been thinking of ways to describe our first day together in NYC, but nothing nothing could compare to the words of the teens themselves, so without further ado.

On our first day in New York, we went to Ellis Island, Battery Park, and then to a Shabbat service at Romemu, a liberal synagogue on West 103rd Street. At Ellis Island, through various activities, we learned what what we have in common, both in terms of daily life as well as in regards to our histories. We then hung out at Battery Park for a while before going to a Shabbat service at Romemu. It was very interesting to see both the similarities and the differences in the ways other liberal Jews practice. Additionally, the Rabbi’s sermon was tremendously powerful; he talked about the importance of confronting truths one may be uncomfortable with, and connected it with Dr. Ford and the Kavanaugh hearings. Overall, it was a very intense and fascinating first day, and it makes me very excited for the rest of the trip.
– Sofia R

The first day was super fun, we got to spend time with our new friends at Ellis Island, and later had dinner at a cool mexican restaurant and had lots of fun.
– Ethan G

I enjoyed the first day, it was fun. I am glad that I’m happy with the person that I was put with.
– Eli T

The past day was really fun we got to meet the Israelis for the first time in person and we went to some really nice places with them, as well as getting to play pool and ping pong with them when we got back to the hostel.
– Alex S

It was so exciting to finally meet everyone yesterday! I loved going on the ferry to Ellis Island and the Mexican restaurant where they played music live! I can’t wait for the rest of the trip and to spend more time with everyone!
– Amanda S

Yesterday we went to Ellis Island and quickly passed by the Statue of Liberty. At Ellis Island we played games to get to know each other better.
– Alexa K

I had a amazing time meeting all the Israelis! We had a great time together on the bus and on Elis Island!
Kristina D

i enjoyed the first day it was really exhausting though. I’m glad I get along with Guy and I am really excited for the rest of the trip!
– Drew C

I loved meeting everyone and making a bunch of new friends on Ellis Island and going on the boat. It was also super fun to eat with everyone and celebrate Sophia’s birthday at the Mexican Restaurant that had live music.
– Julia P

We went on a ferry to Ellis Island and it was really exciting because I got to make a bunch of new friends I will have for a lifetime!
Kate S

I enjoyed the first day. I was very tired for a little part of it because I woke up at 5. The dinner at the Mexican place was the activity I liked most. –
– Eli G

Yesterday was a fun day… I was really excited to meet my American host and had great time with him
– Nadav C

The Mexican restaurant was great. Everyone was so happy and I loved the songs and food.
– Danielle S

yesterday was very good day because we met the Amricans at the first time and it was very cool. And I really liked the statue of liberty.
– Elad A

Yesterday was a very fun day, I enjoyed going on the furry and traveling around town, liked the temple and the restaurant.
– Yarin H

My experience from yesterday was amazing. The synagogue was special. The Mexican food was good, the music was cool and all the time the customers in the other table always cheers.
– Mika G

It’s amazing. The Americans and us have a special bond, we’re all together and we’re having so much fun. This is definitely something I will never forget.
– Noam S

.I liked the food and the cold weather as well as the ferry and the walk around the city
– Guy S

We immediately connected. they’re amazing and the experiences we share together will stay with me for life.
– Noa K

2018-19 Meeting at Kerem Shalom

On Monday, 4/30, families of current 9th graders from Kerem Shalom have gathered to hear about HiBuR and begin the application process. The families met with teens and parents who participated in this year’s program to learn first hand about the experience. It was a special honor to have Rabbi Leigh join us for the meeting, sharing his unique perspective on HiBuR, and inspiring the teens to participate in the program.

2018-19 Meeting at Beth El

On Monday, 4/2, families of current 9th graders from Beth El and Or Atid have gathered to hear about HiBuR and begin the application process. The families met with teens and parents who participated in this year’s program to learn first hand about the experience. It was great to see that about half of the families who attended the meeting are “second-timers”, as they have already had a child (or two) participate in HiBuR in the past.

2018-19 Meeting at Congregation B’nai Torah

On Tuesday, March 20, Rabbi Lisa Eiduson hosted a HiBuR information meeting for members of Congregation B'nai Torah in Sudbury. The seven families who attended heard about next year's plans, met with one of the founders of the program, David Strauss, as well as with the program coordinator, Shoni Aronovich. A special treat was the chance to meet with teens and their parents who participated in this year's program!

Looking forward to seeing all of you again!