UJA's Café Hafooch is a program linking Israeli students with Canadian adults through a 6-week online course. It began as a way for the high school students to improve their English skills and for the adults to feel a stronger bond to Israel.
However, UJA's Café Hafooch turned into so much more than that.
Through deep conversations on a wide range of important topics, all participants are able to feel a connection to Jews on the other side of the world and gain new perspectives on what it’s like to live where they do. Better awareness and understanding are common outcomes of the program, with the majority of those involved feeling like they gained new knowledge and new friends.
Relating ourselves to Israelis and them to us is so important for maintaining positive relationships, strengthening connections among Jews, and acquiring the perspectives of how others live. This makes the Café Hafooch program invaluable.
“It was an excellent program. It is important for us to have this connection to Israel and for the students to be connected to Canada. It allowed us to talk about topics that we often don’t get to speak about with each other. It was an opportunity to connect through the sharing of stories. For me, this was the highlight of my week.”
- Rivka Campbell, Toronto
“The whole school should be part of this project … I would love to be able to join for more sessions and to extend the length of the meetings with my Canadian friend. I would like to learn more about the different Jewish streams and the difference between being a Jew in Israel and in the Diaspora.”
- Daniel Kutsevalov, Eilat
“They ended the Cafe Hafooch program as more confident, fluent, English speakers. The results of this can be seen in the classroom and on their English verbal exam results. Especially for the students who began the program with weaker verbal English skills, they in particular showed significant improvement in their abilities. For those who already had strong speaking skills, Cafe Hafooch improved their overall fluency, added vocabulary to their lexicon and introduced them to new social and cultural metaphors…””
- Mara Benjamin, English Teacher