by Idan Nishlis, chair of the Boston-Haifa Connection’s Young Leadership committee in Haifa
Visiting Boston always feels like home, having lived there for five years. Among the reasons I joined the Haifa-Boston Connection was to stay connected to the Bostonian Jewish community and to incorporate a bit of Boston while living in Haifa. With that said, the September Young Leadership delegation was truly an overwhelming experience.
For the first time, I felt as if I naturally belonged in the Jewish community there, as opposed to being an Israeli who was passing by in order to complete an education, or an Israeli reaching out to find colleagues on a professional basis. Thanks to the Haifa-Boston Connection, I was warmly greeted by people whom I have been in contact with during the past year and met new people who I will be in touch with during this year. Furthermore, in every single place we visited, people knew who we are and they did their best to further assist us.
The commonality of working together for the greater good and sharing common values as volunteers has brought young leaders from Haifa and Boston together. We have experienced Yom Kippur in the Diaspora, we have been exposed the challenges facing Jewish young adults and most importantly, we felt welcomed and part of one community. This is the true meaning of our partnership – the sense of belonging and doing meaningful work with friends from both sides of the connection.