For a week, Hillel students from the Technion and MIT spent time together in Boston as a highlight of their ConnecTech initiative. Paralleling the experiences Boston students had when the MIT delegation went to Haifa last May, learning, community service and Hi-Tech start-ups and science lab visits filled up the busy calendar.
ITA/Google speaking with MIT alum founder Jeremy Wertheimer SM ’89, PhD ’96.
Akamai, with founder and MIT professor Tom Leighton.
Fire Hose Games, with founder MIT alum Eitan Glinert ’05, MNG ’08 — testing soon-to-be-released video games that encourage social play!
An MIT Media Lab tour with Media Lab Prof Joe Jacobson.
A night of volunteering with service learning at the Cambridge Soup Kitchen.
An evening interfaith “TechTalk” exploring how a dominant religious culture affects the ease or difficulty of specific science research projects, using Israel and the US (Judaism and Catholicism) to explore embryonic stem cell research and cadaver use.
MIT Hillel’s Faculty Shabbat introduced the Technion visitors to an American campus Shabbat experience, and allowed them to meet many Jewish MIT faculty, including MIT President Rafael Reif, and dozens and dozens of MIT Hillel students.
A day at LimmudBoston — teaching and learning! Pictured is MIT graduate student Dave Rosen, explaining the science of the Big Bang, an introduction to how Judaism discusses the creation of light (especially around Chanukah).
MIT grad student Dave reports:
“ConnecTech has gotten me much more engaged with the Jewish community (both on and off the MIT campus) than I would otherwise have been. I first got involved with the program after having been invited by a friend to attend one of the ConnecTech talks, a series of discussions focusing on the ethical issues stemming from advances in science and technology.
ConnecTech has also been a great opportunity to significantly broaden my personal horizons. I’ve gotten to know and befriend many, many awesome people (both at MIT and at the Technion) whom I otherwise would never have met. I was able to visit Israel through the program, which (in addition to being a great experience and a lot of fun) enabled me to see firsthand some of the high-tech and entrepreneurial opportunities that are available there (most of which I was unaware of previously). And it also provided another view on Jewish identity that I think is perhaps not readily accessible to someone who has grown up entirely in the United States (or at least in coastal LA County).“
Technion student Erez reflected:
“I think that I have a better understanding of the American Jewish experiences than before. I think MIT has an excellent lecturer-student ratio, and it made me think about my future [studies]. The Boston trip exposed me to the donors, who really made all this happen and made me realize how important for them is the partnership between Judaism around the world.
Technion student Yael comments:
“I really enjoyed the technical side of the program, but what influenced me the most is to see and feel how warm and inviting the Jewish community was and much of a family feeling Boston gives to visiting Jews. The CJP, MIT Hillel, and all the people we met at companies and labs who agreed to open up their worlds to us were interested and caring. It thrilled me and made me think more of my Jewish identity and to be proud of it.”
Technion student Yonaton concluded:
“I had a very strong Jewish experience. It was very impressive to see the great influence of the Jewish life and values on the daily technological work in the MIT community. We got to see a wider spectrum of Judaism than what we know in Israel, and that you can definitely find your way to make it a part of your life.”
ConnecTech is supported in part by a grant from CJP’s Boston-Haifa Connection.
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