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Tawiskam Mifgash

The more we encounter others, the more deeply we learn about ourselves.

Beth Tzedec Congregation wants to develop a program for Jewish teens involving purposive, meaningful encounters with groups that are different than themselves, but through whose stories and traditions they gain insight into and appreciation of their own culture and heritage. This unique initiative will be a structured reflective opportunity for Jewish teens from Beth Tzedec and other Toronto congregations that will culminate in a multi-day encounter with teens from an Ontario Aboriginal community.

The program, to be known as Tawiskam Mifgash, from the Cree and Hebrew words for Encounter, is an exciting and enriching Jewish identity-building initiative. The idea for Tawiskam Mifgash was born out of Beth Tzedec’s highly successful Tolerance trip of February, 2011 during which the synagogue led a delegation of 35 teens (members and non-members) on a trip to the Paperclips exhibit in Whitwell, Tennessee. The focus of the trip was “teaching tolerance” through the dual themes of the Holocaust education and Jewish/Black relations. Participant feedback indicated that the teens were overwhelmed by their experience and challenged when learning about the complex history of Jewish and Black communities in North America. The trip was very successful, but was missing a crucial element….Encounter.