Monthly Archives: October 2018

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