CEO of Hillel International Eric Fingerhut visits Gann Academy as part of innovative Mifgash

October 28, 2016
Interactive exchange program with Israeli Ironi Hey High School features Hillel talk on Jewish identity and the importance of the Israel connection.
Gann Academy announced today that Eric Fingerhut, the CEO of Hillel International provided the keynote speech to all Gann students on Friday, October 28th as part of its innovative Mifgash program.

As noted Rabbi Marc Baker, head of Gann Academy, “We are thrilled to have Eric with us and to share his views on the role of Jewish life on college campuses and on the importance of maintaining ties to Israel and the Jewish peoplehood. Our Mifgash program is focused on helping our students to establish lifelong connections between each other and with their past, present and future as Jews.  Eric’s talk perfectly supported that intent.”

Fingerhut, a former U.S. congressman and the CEO of Hillel, is a recognized and important voice in the call for strengthening bonds between Israel and America.  He has established Hillel as an essential catalyst for awareness and understanding among Jewish young adults regarding the role they play in maintaining and strengthening those bonds, on college campuses and beyond.

In preparing for his remarks, Fingerhut shared, “I am thrilled to be visiting Gann Academy and to meet with the students from Gann and Ironi Hey.  Programs like this Gann Mifgash are so important to our collective Jewish growth.  I hope that these students will bring the relationships they are building together—between Boston and Haifa Jews—to college and help us strengthen the global Hillel network. Whether they end up at college in Tel Aviv, Toronto, San Francisco, Argentina, Poland or Boston, our job is to ensure that they can make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel."

The Gann Mifgash is an interactive two-week exchange between 39 Gann students and 26 students from the Ironi Hey high school in Haifa, Israel.   Supported by CJP and its Boston-Haifa Connection, the innovative program consists of a unique blend of classroom and experiential learning with cultural forays that underscore both Jewish & American heritage and values.  The specific itinerary includes volunteering at the Greater Boston Food Bank, a Havdalah Ceremony at Temple Beth Zion, a talk at the Old State House and the Holocaust Memorial by Gann faculty, and a capstone tour of the MIT Media Lab where students will be exposed to everything from the next generation of 3D printing to the “Opera of the Future”.

Ariel Libhaber, Director of CJP’s Boston-Haife Connection comments, “We are proud at the Boston-Haifa Connection to partner with Gann Academy and Ironi Hey in supporting Jewish identity exploration and Jewish peoplehood in nuanced ways. At the heart of everything we do is people-to-people connections and for Israelis and Americans to come together to tackle common challenges. Gann and Ironi Hey are amongst the best examples of what a deep, thoughtful, innovative partnership can be, leading to remarkable results and mutually beneficial impact for our communities”.

Gann Academy’s Mifgash is a centerpiece of Gann’s unique seven-week “My Israel” program that is available to all Gann juniors.  It provides those students who cannot go to Israel with an opportunity to experience their Israeli counterparts and helps them begin to build lifelong connections to each other and to Israel itself.
-- Gann Academy is Greater Boston’s pluralistic Jewish high school, recognized for an innovative curriculum that combines in-depth critical analysis, experiential learning, and a focus on building a better world.  With an unparalleled commitment to faculty development, small classes, and a unique advisory system, Gann prepares students to live lives rich with accomplishment and meaning, and to contribute to their communities and the world.   Gann Academy is based in Waltham, Massachusetts and serves 287 students from 20 communities across the full spectrum of Jewish observance.
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