At HiBuR, we try to provide an immersive cultural exchange experience, unparalleled with programs in which one travels to Israel as a tourist, or within an American "bubble".
Our students spend their week in Haifa staying at the homes of the Israeli students they hosted back in the fall, interacting with their entire families, having dinner together, spend a Shabbat with them, and even accompany their hosts to school for one day. In addition, while exploring the country as an American group, they are are always accompanies by several Israeli students, there to share their own local perspective.
Spending a total of 20 days together, a significant amount of time, is highly likely to result in formation of deep, meaningful, and log-lasting relationships, both locally and across countries. Many students who participate in HiBuR return to Israel for a semester abroad or a summer program (students who participate in HiBuR maintain their eligibility to go on Birthright).
American and Israeli teens and staff getting ready to attend a Celtics game.
Hosting Israeli teens was a fantastic experience for us. We got the chance to share our culture with kids who were genuinely interested in how we lived. We also got a glimpse into what it’s like to grow up in Israeli society. The girls we hosted inspired in us a fascination and a curiosity about the differences in how kids across different cultures come of age.
Ira, hosting parent
The most fascinating part for me was seeing our way of life through the eyes of the Israeli teens. The teens from Haifa don’t spend much time in cars, so even the driving, the houses along the way, the beauty of the semi-rural areas we drive through – everything sparked their observations and from there the conversations flowed. Also the ways that we observe Judaism were the source of much conversation, because of how different our Jewish experience is from theirs. This program is well worth the effort–we have seen powerful impacts already in our kids’ maturity, and in their relationships to Judaism.
Lisa, hosting parent