Category Archives: Israel

Montreal’s Jewish community comes together to support Israel’s newest singing sensation

After Holland’s original reality talent show, “The Voice of Holland,” took off in America last year, many countries have followed suit, including Ukraine, Poland, Mexico, Germany, France, and the UK, each launching their own versions of “The Voice,” now one of the most popular television talent shows.  The latest country to create a new singing sensation is none other than Israel, who announced the winner of their edition of “The Voice” this past Saturday night. Not only were Israeli audiences waiting in suspense to find out the winner…so was Montreal’s Jewish community.

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Meet Sara Goldberg: Team BIEC welcomes a new member!

Hi! My name is Sara Goldberg and I am very excited to be the newest member of Team BIEC, as alumni and outreach coordinator! I went on Birthright Israel in May 2011 and had an amazing, life changing experience. The combination of meeting new people along with the beauty of the country and the amazing activities made this trip unforgettable. My madrichim, Sam and Jeremy, played a huge role making this experience memorable, always going above and beyond in planning activities and our itinerary. Since I had been there before, I went into the trip not expecting it to change me, or my outlook on Israel, however, this trip made me see Israel in a whole new light.

Sara (on the far left) and friends from her Birthright Israel trip in Jerusalem this past summer

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My favourite Birthright Israel moment…the true meaning of paying it forward

This post was written by guest blogger, Stephanie Rishikof, who was a Taglit-Birthright Israel participant in 2007.
 
In July 2007, I went on Birthright Israel and had an incredible experience, as any alumni can attest to. Recently, I was asked by Team BIEC what the highlight of my trip was. Six years ago, I would probably have said floating in the Dead Sea, riding a camel, rafting on the Jordan River, or the Mega Event. Years later, the highlight of my trip has changed.
Steph and fellow Birthright Israel participants rafting on the Jordan River

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Team BIEC’s Summer Wrap-Up

It is already three weeks into September and, I’m sorry to say, summer is officially behind us. Team BIEC had an incredible summer, and we would like to apologize for not keeping you more posted on all of our crazy adventures…and take this opportunity to catch you up.

Summer at BIEC usually means one thing, and one thing only….Birthright season!  This summer, however, we managed to not only send 360 young, Jewish Montrealers on free trips to Israel (and spend a little time in the Holy land ourselves), but we travelled around to Montreal-area camps, hanging out with staff and doing some great team building activities, as well.  Oh yeah…and we also put together a great fundraiser basketball tournament for the Trevor Williams Foundation, held an amazing Birthright Reunion, picked an awesome new batch of leaders for our Madrichim in Training program, and welcomed one returning and two new members to our team (Hi Yoni, Sam, and Sarah!).

Phew.

So now that you are probably back in school and looking for entertaining ways to make the time in your classes go by faster, here’s a brief look back on one of Team BIEC’s most successful summers!

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BIEC’s Madrichim in Training Program – by guest blogger Samantha Schneider

Samantha Schneider was a participant in BIEC’s 2010-2011 Madrichim in Training (MIT) program and is an active volunteer with the Bronfman Israel Experience Centre. She just got back from leading her first Birthright trip to Israel!  If you are interested in applying for the MIT program please go to: http://biec.wufoo.com/forms/canada-israel-experience-madrich-application-2011/

Sam with other graduates of the MIT program (Sari Katz and Yoni Loeub) and Team BIEC professionals at the Mega Event in Israel this past May.

Hey guys!

I went on Birthright as a participant last May, 2010 and I had the most incredible experience! Little did I know that coming home and applying to participate in the Madrichim in Training (MIT) leadership program would change my life. I am a very studious person and I spend most of my time doing my schoolwork. On an honest note, I had never really had any associations with the Jewish community, or participated in any of the programs it offers. My parents have always been very insistent on my potential involvement within the community, and I saw this program as an ideal approach.

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Get in “Le Mood” for the most exciting new festival in Montreal

I know that it may not quite seem like it yet, but despite the weather outside, it is officially summer in Montreal!  And, according to yours truly, the best thing about summer in Montreal (or any season in Montreal, for that matter) are the festivals!  Just for Laughs, the Fringe Festival, Beerfest, and the Jazz Festival are just a few of the many weekends to look forward to this summer.  Whether you like live music, delicious food and drink, or stand-up comedy, this city really does have something for everyone.

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Growing up confused – by guest blogger Samantha Star

Samantha is part of the MIT (madrichim in training) program at the Bronfman Israel Experience Centre, and will be leading her first Birthright trip this summer.  She is an active volunteer in the Jewish community and has helped to organize countless events, including the upcoming I Heart Fashion fashion show fundraiser, benefitting Save a Child’s Heart and En Famille.

Recently, I had the privilege of entering several dozen Birthright applications into the registration database. After doing what felt like a million (or maybe it was only 50), I realized that a lot of these applications had similarities: Hebrew schooling, summer camps, involvement with synagogues, etc. I sat there wondering what my application must have looked like three years earlier, when I applied to be a participant on Birthright, and what it would look like today.

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Are you “Chai” on Israel?

Ever get a card on a simcha (a happy occasion like Bar/Bat Mitzvah or wedding) with a check in it for say, 144$ (a multiple of 18)? Or ever plant a tree with JNF for 18$? As Passover is right around the corner, did you know 18 minutes is the maximum time matzah is to be cooked until it becomes unkosher? Without too much detail, once the dough hits 18 minutes, it begins to rise. 18 is also the date in the Hebrew month of Iyar when Lag B’omer occurs. We get this number 18 from the numerical value of the Hebrew word for life, “חי” or “Chai.”  The ח or “chet” is the 8th letter in the Hebrew alphabet and is worth 8 and the “י” or “yud” is the 10th letter and is worth 10, hence the connection between Judaism, life and the number 18.

Lost in time…

Gilad Shalit has been a prisoner in the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip for the past 1713 days and counting; today is his 242nd Shabbat away from home. 1713 days away from friends, family and home without any contact from anyone besides his captors. For 1713 days the Red Cross has not been allowed to visit him, and his exact location is unknown. His only crime is that of being an Israeli defending his country and his people.

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Team BIEC’s favourite Birthright moments revisited

In honour of Birthright summer registration, which opens tomorrow, February 15th at 10:00am, Team BIEC has come together to share with you our favourite Birthright memories.  Each Birthright trip, whether you are a participant or a madrich, is special in its own, unique way, but there are always those moments that stand out as the most memorable.  Some of the moments are funny ones, others are meaningful, but what they all have in common is that they happened in Israel, on the trip of a lifetime.  If you haven’t yet taken advantage of this amazing gift, I encourage you to register for your free summer trip tomorrow!  If you have already been on Birthright, we’d love to hear all about your favourite Birthright moment!  And be sure to pass the word on to your friends and family about this incredible and unforgettable opportunity, so that they too can experience their own special moments!
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