Students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and from Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, have formed close personal connections through ConnecTech, a program supported in part by CJP’s Boston-Haifa Connection. ConnecTech brings the students together to experience each other’s cultures and see the innovative technology ventures on each campus. Participants say these person-to-person bonds are the key to making strong, lasting connections between our Jewish communities.
“I really enjoyed the technical side of the program, but what influenced me the most was to see and feel how warm and inviting the Jewish community was,” says Yael, a student at Technion who visited Boston for a week in December 2012 as part of a ConnecTech delegation.
During that week, MIT Hillel students played host to their Haifa Hillel counterparts, ushering them through the city to diverse destinations that included visits to high tech start-up companies, science labs and even a stop at the Cambridge Soup Kitchen for a community service project. Along the way, they met MIT alumni business leaders at companies including ITA/Google, Akamai and Fire Hose Games.
While the networking opportunities were exciting, both Boston and Haifa students say they were surprised by how their views of Judaism and their own Jewish identity expanded. “ConnecTech has been a great opportunity to significantly broaden my personal horizons,” says Dave, a MIT grad student who traveled to Haifa through the program. “It provided another view on Jewish identity that I think is not readily available to someone who has grown up entirely in the United States.”