Sister Cities around the world engage in exchanges, create community impact, kindle lifelong friendships, and build partnerships. The Jewish communities in Haifa and Boston have been connected for 30 years.
I had never experienced personally having a sister on the other side of the ocean. But all of that changed when my wife, Hadas and I traveled to Boston with a delegation from Ohel Abraham (OA), Haifa’s Reform Synagogue, to engage with its sister congregation, Wellesley’s Temple Beth Elohim (TBE).
Upon our arrival, we were given a huge hug and a very wide smile. These were people I was meeting for the first time, but by the end of the day I already knew everyone so well, it was as if I had known them all my life. I felt I was visiting family. I felt at home.
We participated in small group discussions in a relaxed atmosphere. We were taken care of for the entire week with morning sessions and tasty lunches at TBE (or at private homes), sightseeing in downtown Boston, bonding experiences, and evening drinks and laughs at local pubs. Our hosts opened their hearts and their homes for us, and their hospitality was flawless.
The OA delegation returned to Israel with a very strong sense of sisterhood between us and TBE. A unique bonding of two beautiful communities.
Partners in Reform—TBE has been engaged in a partnership with Ohel Avraham for five years, first as a teen/parent exchange and progressing to adult exchanges. In Summer 2018, a delegation from TBE traveled to Haifa for a week of study and touring with congregants at OA. In mid-October, TBE welcomed 11 members of OA for a week of inspiration and friendship.