BHC Educators' Mifgash-  June 5, 2015


Dear BHC friends,

Our Elementary Educators' Mifgash formally concluded yesterday in Haifa. All of our educators and staff have been affected by the power of this face to face encounter that we have all shared. Through our intense collaborative week, we strongly believe that this is the beginning of a deeper connection between our partnerships…a ripple effect that will also touch our students and families.

How could we expect to be the same after a week long MIFGASH with our Haifa partners? How could we not feel the deep and powerful impact of:

*Visiting and teaching at our partner schools and feeling like we too were truly on staff, guiding   further exploration and articulation of Jewish Identity and Peoplehood among the students who we immediately adored.

*Interacting with the fiercely dedicated educational leadership of our Haifa partner schools, and understanding first hand how the work of Boston – Haifa is of primary value to their students and faculty, as well as being genuinely supported on the Haifa Municipality level.

* Collaborating with our partners in a passionate discussion about perspectives and understandings, goals, vision, and best practices for our partnerships, both on an individual level and regarding our particular sites.

*Celebrating, eating and traveling together…. both in Haifa and in Jerusalem.  We shared ourselves personally, spiritually and socially.

*Opening ourselves to praying together (in different synagogues) for Kabbalat Shabbat in Jerusalem.  Feeling so inspired by these joint prayer moments to sing proudly and publicly in the hotel dining room "Shalom Aleicheim Malachae Hashalom" and Kiddish, bringing the dining hall to complete silence.

* Meeting individuals working on social challenges within Israel- Women of the Wall (Susan Silverman), a representative Asylum seeker (Yikealo) and Racheli and Batel at Yemin Orde

*Reflecting and having many opportunities to debrief with our partners ( as well as within our own group), breaking down the barriers of our assumptions to understand better one another's viewpoints, values and concerns, as well as allow for change within our own mindset.

*Touring Jerusalem together by foot- A NEW PERSPECTIVE FOR ALL OF US!

*Joining of "lone" Haifa teachers, whose partner teachers from Boston could not participate in our mifgash.  These actions of dedication by the Haifa teachers was very poignant and powerful to us,  as we ALL become partners during our workshops, travel and breaking bread.

*Engaging with Professor Gur Elroy, (and a few of his students) from the Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies.  We are enthusiastic about the continued enlightenment of Diaspora Jewry for Israeli society.

*Hosting and hospitality from our Haifa partners.  Through the opportunities to engage in real time with our partners, and with professional and lay people involved in Haifa – Boston, (recognizing that their work week was not altered, even though we were there),  we learned and experienced Haifa in a unique way.  Thank you for sharing your your schools, your homes and your lives with us. A special shout out to our home hospitality hosts: Karen Doryoseph, Iris Cohen-Dor, Shirli Tocker, Dafna Yehudai, Zipora Ne'eman, and again to Zipora for having the Boston educators to your home for our concluding lunch, and for a most enriching session on the art of paper-cutting.  

We are privileged to call our Haifa partner teachers, principals, the Haifa -Boston Jewish Ed and Identity Committee, and our Mifgash supporters and professionals Vered Israely, Jackie Levy- Atias and Roberta Bell Kligler our PARTNERS.

*Welcoming Barry Shrage to our closing workshop session and hearing his profound sentiments of the importance of our work as educators with a mission.  Barry imparted the importance of our partnership, staging the groundwork for Israeli and American Jews to embrace that




Thank you Haifa- we are richer and we are changed for this shared experience!


Marla Olsberg

BHC Project Manger

School to School Partnerships