created at: 2011-04-05

As we eagerly await the arrival of the 2nd annual Boston-Haifa Connection Hatikvah Soldiers Mission later this month, we thought the best way to convey exactly what the mission offers is through video. We hope the following video clips – and a few others we’ll feature between now and the arrival of this year’s mission – will showcase the importance of these mifgashim, “encounters” between Israeli and Diaspora Jews.

From April 28th through May 4th, this inspiring group of IDF Officers from Haifa will be addressing audiences all over the Greater Boston area about their experiences in the military and their connections to the American Jewish community.  This delegation, created in partnership with Israel ‘s Ministry of the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, includes both male and female officers, as well as members of Israeli-Ethiopian and Israeli-Russian olim (recent immigrant communities).  The Hatikvah mission’s goal is to strengthen ties between Israeli and Diaspora Jews and help Bostonians, both Jewish and non-Jewish, learn more about a country many people only know about through headlines in the media.

These clips are part of a documentary produced following last year’s mission. During the course of the 30-minute film, we meet the 12 officers, the dedicated CJP staff and lay leaders who organized the delegation, and Yuli Edelstein, the Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, who accompanied the officers as an official representative of the Government of Israel. Anyone who watches the film is immediately drawn in and feels the power this mission had on everyone who was involved.

The following clip is about the importance of preserving the true memory of the Holocaust. In the US, as in Israel, we hear a lot about the Holocaust, and perhaps because it has become part of our collective memory as Jews, we overlook the fact that some of our friends and neighbors can’t comprehend the horror, pain and devastation. It is therefore our duty to promise, “Never Forget, Never Again.” We’re proud of organizations such as Boston 3G that not only seek to preserve this memory and to educate others, but that also connect the families of survivors to make sure the stories are told and retold and don’t ever fade into oblivion.

Despite the connections between organizations and institutions in Israel and the Diaspora, it’s often difficult for individuals to feel the bond of Jewish peoplehood. American day school and Hebrew school students learn about this place called Israel halfway around the world and read about it online, but to them, an Israeli solider is often still an abstract concept. Similarly, Israelis see that Americans care enough to send money through federations and other avenues, but they don’t understand why and how the bond is deeper than that. Suddenly, the two see each other for what they are: complementary parts of one people.

The Hatikvah Mission will be here from April 28th-May 4th, and there are multiple opportunities for you to meet the Officers of the Hatikvah Mission. Here are just a few of events you should be aware of.

Friday, April 29 – Kabbalat Shabbat with Havurah on the Hill

Sunday, May 1st – Yom HaShoah Commemoration and 15th Anniversary of the New England Holocaust Memorial
10:30am to 12:00pm (The Holocaust Memorial on Congress St .)

Monday, May 2nd – Young Adult Community event with the Boston-Haifa Young Leaders and BIG – Boston Israel Group

Additional information about these upcoming events will be available on this blog, the events page and CJP has also created a special page on its website with information about the mission, which you can visit by clicking here.