Dec. 23, 2009
When I was a teenager, I joined the youth movement, Noar Le Noar, in my hometown, Rishon Le Zion.
Noar Le Noar is the Israeli branch of the B'nai Brith Youth Organization (BBYO).
One of the five values of BBYO Israel is Kesher Im Hatfutsot, or "Connection with the Diaspora." Every year we hosted a group of teens from America and England and, one year, even a group from Bulgaria.
This program was an opportunity for us to have a special encounter with Jewish teens and gain an understanding of their views regarding Israel and Judaism.
One of the things that struck me the most was that we had much more in common than were our differences.
We liked the same food, listened to the same music, had similar hobbies, and celebrated the same holidays.
Jewish holidays connect Jews all around the world. A few years ago I celebrated Passover with a seder in Tokyo, and last year I lit the Chanukah candles in Bangkok, Thailand's Chabad house.
For our school's Chanukah celebration, I wanted to demonstrate to our families this idea of Jewish peoplehood.
I asked two colleagues (one from NYC and one from Israel) to each send us a video greeting from their students. I also asked my aunt, who works in a Jewish school in Sydney, Australia, to prepare a similar video clip with her students.
On Dec. 13, 350 people watched these clips and learned that in every Jewish school students study Hebrew, conduct a weekly prayer service, and celebrate Jewish holidays together.
Our traditions and rituals unite us regardless of where we live. We at PTS Religious School will continue teaching the value of Kesher Im Hatfutsot throughout this school year and in years to come.