The seeds for the Boston-Haifa Learning Exchange were planted in 2004, when the Boston-Haifa Social Justice & Civil Society (SJCS) Committee of JCRC implemented an initiative to strengthen NGOs in Haifa by aiding the Council of Volunteer Organizations (CVO). In January of 2005, JCRC brought eleven NGO leaders from Boston on a study tour of Israel that included a two-day seminar in Haifa. After participating in the study tour, Dr. Donna Haig-Friedman of the McCormack Graduate School’s Center for Social Policy (CSP) at UMass-Boston was so moved by her experience that she joined the SJCS and applied for a Fulbright Teaching/Research Fellowship, which she received in the spring of 2007.
From 2007 to 2009, JCRC organized annual exchanges between Boston and Haifa that included seminars in each city and videoconferences throughout the year. In 2009, the Boston Center for Community and Justice (BCCJ) joined the exchange to strengthen the Boston component of programming. That year, the exchange began its pilot year in its current format. Boston participants explored Israel on a weeklong study tour in January, then joined members of LEAD Haifa for a two-day seminar. Then in May, Haifa participants traveled to Boston and joined their counterparts for a four-day seminar organized by JCRC in collaboration with BCCJ.
In Spring 2010, the Center for Social Policy published a journal featuring articles by participants and prominent leaders of the Learning Exchange. Click here to download a digital copy of the journal.
Starting in 2012, JCRC found a new partner in the University of Haifa's Department of Continuing Education in the Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, as well as continued to work with Shatil.
Since 2005, participants from 47 Boston organizations have participated in the Boston Haifa Learning Exchange and had the opportunity to develop leadership skills alongside peers from a society facing challenges both similar to and different from their own.
For more information about the Boston - Haifa Learning Exchange, please contact Aviva Berezin at firstname.lastname@example.org.