HDCA Newsletter – May 2022

Introducing the HDCA website

If you’re reading this edition of our HDCA newsletter, you’ve found yourself on the new HDCA website. On this site you’ll find links to our affiliated machanot and organizations, as well as information about those organizations. We hope you find this communication tool one more important step in our quest for closer communication and relationships.

Toda raba to Danny Fishman for his hard work and guidance to make this a reality.

Aleh v’hagshem,

Alisa Belinkoff Katz and Sharon Waimberg

PS  You can now subscribe to this newsletter at “HDCA Blog” in the menu above. Pass the word!

A Return to In-Person Movement Seminars! by Jenna Abrams, Rakazol Chinuch

In March, we had our first in-person movement seminars in 2 years! We decided to combine Moetzet Madatz and Moetzet Mazkirut, which are the (usually separate) training seminars that the Mazkirut Artzit runs for the youth leadership of the machanot. Due to COVID guidelines, we unfortunately had to host the seminar in two separate locations. For the Canadian machanot, we had a three day seminar in Toronto, and for the American machanot, we had a three day seminar in Philadelphia. We had a total of 40 people at both seminars, and have since gathered all together on Zoom to give the leadership a chance to meet each other and share updates about summer preparations. The content of the seminar was generally well-received by the participants, and we had a lot of fun together in both locations. Here are some highlights of the seminar:

  • Tafkid (position) time: for sharing ideas and best practices with others doing the same tafkid as you
  • Fun chevratim (bonding activities) and relationship building
  • Machaneh time: for planning and important conversations about the summer with your tzevet (staff group)
  • Training on Introducing anti-racist policy to machaneh
  • Training on how to address anti-semitism with your chanichimot
  • Guest Speaker about creating a positive culture around sex/relationships for tzevet
  • Skill-building around navigating difficult conversations around Israel/Zionism
  • Guest speaker about mental health + inclusion (who happens to be a Jewish comedian!)
  • Training on leadership + project management
  • Discussion of tactics for tzevet/madatz retention


HDNA Programs Update  by Ben Markbreiter, Rakazol Tochniot

MBI just keeps growing and growing! Since the last HDCA Newsletter, MBI has grown from 60 participants to 77 participants, with more expected to register.  At of this date, we have gone through all the tickets that NFTY purchased on the group flights, so they are purchasing individual tickets for anyone who registers at this time with an added fee.  This fee goes up depending on the price of the seat on the plane, so if you or anyone you know is still thinking about registering  for MBI, do so now!

Workshop 71 sikkum

Workshop 71 is officially over. The chanichimot had their sikkum (wrap-up) seminar right as Pesach started, and even though many tears were shed, everyone is incredibly excited to come back to HDNA with all they learned on Workshop.

Workshop 72 registration is in full swing.We are currently at 4 applicants with about 10 more in the process of filling out their applications. 

We are still very actively looking for new participants for Workshop 72, so if you know of anyone or wish to help with Workshop recruitment, please send the Rakazol Tochniot, Ben Markbreiter, information at programs@habonimdror.org


Habonim Dror and Partners Volunteer with Ukranian Refugees

by Tamar Levi, HDNA Central Shlicha

“It’s amazing that everywhere in the world kids are the same, they just want to play and laugh and run.” – Yelena Adelman, volunteer in Warsaw. 
As most of us have watched in horror, the war in Ukraine has dragged on for over two months. Every day  its humanitarian toll increases: today over 13 million refugees have fled Ukraine, leaving behind other civilians in drastic conditions. For me, it has been a small comfort to know that our partners across the world in Israel are supporting the refugees in many different ways. Please read on to find out what our partners, and specifically some of our HDNA bogrimot, have been up to.
Dror Israel and Hanoar Haoved

Phia Blumenthal, Tavor, Workshop 58

Our sister movement has organized day-camps in absorption centers in Israel for the new refugees, as well as providing bureaucratic support and running donation drives for necessary items. As the Ukranians have transitioned into more permanent locations, some of the children have maintained connections to the madrichim that they met, and joined kenim of Hanoar Haoved or ulpanim run by Dror Israel.

Dror Israel has also sent delegations of volunteers to Moldova, Romania and Warsaw to work with the refugees. In Warsaw, they are operating a daycare center at one of the biggest refugee centers, where thousands of people pass every day. The fifth delegation of volunteers is leaving soon, with two more planned to follow. You can find more information about their work here:
Phia Blumenthal (Workshop 58, Tavor), Yelena Adelman (Workshop 54, Tavor), Joanna Zeiger Guerra (Workshop 57, Galil) and Leah Silverberg (Workshop 56, Gesher) have participated on these delegations.
Habonim Dror Around the World 

Ken Marseilles with donations


HD France and Belgium have mounted very successful drives for clothing and supplies, which have been driven to the border areas the refugees are passing through.

Workshop 71
While in Poland for their Holocaust Learning Trip, the Workshoppers visited a yeshiva that was being used as a temporary housing site for refugees in Eastern Poland, and visited Phia and Yelena in Warsaw to learn about the daycare service they were offering. While in Lublin, they helped prepare care packages.

Workshoppers preparing packages



Habonim Dror Olami and the Kibbutz Movement 

Habonim Dror Olami and the Kibbutz Movement have sent delegations of volunteers to Poland and Romania to assist in areas where refugees are congregating. These include madrichim to work with children, and medical and mental health support workers.
The Kibbutz Movement has also collected clothing, gathered donations, and raised money. They are facilitating the absorption of immigrants into individual kibbutzim.
May we soon all know more peaceful days.

Introducing Avi Edelman – Moshava Incoming Board Chair 

Camp Moshava has new board leadership. After several years of service, Pam Stone has passed the presidency on to Avi Edelman.  Thank you Pam for your hard work and dedication to Mosh!

Avi at Mosh in 2003

 Avi may be the youngest of our six HD Camp Board leaders – he’s turning 33 as we write these words.  He began as a chanichol at Mosh in 2001, continuing through the years as a camper and then participating in MBI,  madatz, and tzevet, ultimately serving as Rosh Mosh in 2011 and 2012.

After “aging out” of the movement, Avi wanted to stay connected.  He immediately joined the Mosh board and has remained a member (with a break for term limits) ever since, heading up fundraising efforts among other things.  He has enjoyed working as a lay leader because he sees such work as another expression of Habonim Dror values, which are reflected not only in our youth programming but also in the way we maintain our organization and help it grow.  

Avi (2nd from right) with past Mosh Roshim

Avi graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Film Studies and is about to receive his Master’s Degree in Non-Profit Management, also from Columbia.  He lives in Brooklyn Heights, New York and is able to maintain his Mosh leadership position thanks to Zoom!  He currently works at Columbia as Associate Director of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Education, focusing on several intergroup dialogue and facilitation initiatives and advising identity and culture-based student groups.  At Columbia, Avi founded a program called Sankofa Tzedek, which brings together a cohort of students on campus for a year of personal identity development, intergroup dialogue, intercultural learning, transformational travel and social justice education that centers the experiences and histories of Black and Jewish communities.. “Sankofa” is a symbol from the Akan tribe in Ghana, often depicted as a bird that is looking backwards over its shoulder, suggesting that as a people moves forward, the knowledge of the past must never be forgotten.

Avi says that Mosh played a truly formative role in shaping not only his values, but also the way he approaches his work.  “When I’m running a dialogue group with Columbia students, it’s just like shaping a pe’ula,” he says.  Congratulations on your new role, Avi!


Welcome Danya Shapiro – Tavor Executive Director

Machaneh Tavor has undergone a major leadership change as Danya Shapiro has replaced Amit Weitzer as Executive Director.  Amit served for almost six years in this important position and is now working as the Detroit-area Director of Hazon, an organization committed to weaving sustainability into the fabric of Jewish life.  Best wishes to Amit as she embarks on this new journey!

Rosh Tavor Danya Shapiro (right) with her siblings

The Tavor Executive Director baton has been passed to Danya Shapiro, a lifelong Tavornik and Jewish educator. Danya grew up in Chicago and came to Tavor on her own initiative at age 11. She had no family connection or friends in Habonim, but after reading a brochure and attending a parlor meeting, found herself intrigued by the kibbutz element and signed up.

Years later, she’s still here!  Danya attended MBI and Workshop 47. She worked as a madrichol at Tavor and Mosh, later serving as Rosh Tavor.  She eventually joined the national mazkirut as Gizbarit (Treasurer).

Danya made aliyah with a Habonim garin and worked in various HD tafkidim in Israel, including as Workshop Madrichol.  It was there that she met her now-husband, a Galilnik named Matt Becker – also a Workshop Madrichol. They are now the parents of Ruth, age 11, and Ziv, age 8 (Tavorniks, too!)

Danya and Matt returned to the U.S. where they continued their HD activity as staff at Galil.  Later moving to Cleveland, Ohio, Danya re-engaged with Tavor, joining their board of directors 4 years ago.

Danya has a degree in Early Childhood Education and has worked in Jewish community settings including pre-schools and kindergartens. Most recently she served as Family Program Manager for jHUB at the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland, whose mission is to offer interfaith families ways to comfortably explore, discover and personalize Jewish culture and values. Danya is also an artist specializing in fabric arts and has made custom wedding chuppahs for many Habo alums.  

Danya was motivated to take on the job of Tavor E.D. because she recognized the huge impact Habonim Dror has had on her life’s course and on who she has become as a person.  She sees this tafkid as an opportunity to give back – and pay it forward.  She looks forward to working with all elements of the Tavor community, elevating the voices of donors, alumni, parents and youth leaders at this important time.  May you go from strength to strength, Danya!

This Yom Ha’azmaut, Ameinu and Habonim Dror invite you to join us in a celebration of Israeli music and culture!

The event will be hosted by Robbie Gringrass, an Israeli performer and educator.

Robbie will present, play and discuss 5 songs that represent the “Israeli story” inspired by the words of “Hatikvah” – “To Be a People Free in Our Land” ; One song addresses security (To Be), one relates to Jewishness (People), the third addresses Freedoms and the fourth talks about the Land. The last song will be for good luck!

All the clips will have English subtitles, and you are encouraged to connect your screen to some good loud speakers!

Come ready to share your list – what five songs would you say “sum up” Israel?

The event will be held online on Sunday, May 15th, 1pm est / 10am pt.

The event is free but rsvp is needed in this link:


About Robbie Gringrass

Robbie was born and bred in the Jewish community of Britain, but has been living and creating in Israel since 1996, primarily with Jewish Americans. As such his work – educational and theatrical – bridges the Israel-Diaspora connection with empathy and insight.

He lives in the secular world, while his knowledge base and research specialties – especially after his many years studying in Jerusalem – are deeply religious.


HDCA Newsletter – February 2022

Galil Establishes Israel Programs Scholarship Fund

Habonim Dror Camp Galil is thrilled to announce that it has received a transformational gift establishing a scholarship fund for Camp Galil campers who wish to attend Habonim Dror North America’s Israel programs.

The $50,000 gift, from an anonymous Galil family, establishes the Galil Shachar Israel Program Scholarship Fund. The gift will be

invested and proceeds will be used to support need-based scholarships for Camp Galil chaverimot attending HDNA’s MBI and Workshop programs. Shachar, which means “sunrise” in Hebrew, holds personal significance for the donor family.

The Galil Shachar Israel Program Scholarship Fund will enable more Camp Galil teens to have meaningful experiences in Israel, strengthen their Jewish identity and deepen their connection to Israel and the Jewish people. With this gift the Galil community will have the ability to support chaverimot throughout their entire Galil/Habonim Dror journeys. The family shares that they were inspired to make this gift when “We saw what a huge impact Galil had on the lives of our children and grandchildren and how their experience in Israel cemented their ties to the country and their Jewish identity. We want to make sure that every Galil family can participate in this impactful experience.”

Galil expects to begin supporting chaverimot attending MBI and Workshop with Shachar funding later this year. Todah rabah to the donor family, and kol hakavod to everyone in the Galil community who helped make this happen.

Continue reading

HDCA Newsletter – December 19, 2021

MBI 2022 – Now Open For Registration!

We are happy to announce that registration for MBI opened on December 3rd, 2021. While last year we joined the NFTY Mitzvah Corps for a trip shared with NFTY staff and teens, this year we are creating a trip that is tailored specifically for HDNA chanichimot.

*Please note that we are still working with NFTY to confirm our tailored itinerary. The language on the NFTY website linked above is the generic trip description and does not yet reflect our unique HDNA itinerary.


We’ve partnered with NFTY to create a 4-week trip for anyone interested in engaging with Israel through a Habonim Dror lens. Teens can expect the iconic Israel experiences, from hiking Masada to exploring Jerusalem, with an emphasis on values-based education and deep engagement with dilemmas of modern Israel. This trip gives our post grade-10 chanichimot the opportunity to connect with Israel and its complexities, to meet their national kvutza, share their camp traditions and make friendships that will last a lifetime. See more details below:

WHEN: June 30th-July 27th (4 weeks). We specifically selected these dates to give as much time as possible for chanichimot to participate in programming at their machaneh after MBI, as we know machaneh retention is a top tier priority!

TUITION: Thanks to our partnership with NFTY and RootOne, participants are eligible for a $3,000 tuition voucher that brings the cost of the trip down to $5,425 USD.

STAFF: The staff for this trip will be a combination of North American madrichimot from HDNA & Israeli madrichimot from our sister movement Hanoar HaOved VeHalomed. Having HDNA tzevet helps us to offer an authentic Habonim experience while in Israel!Continue reading

HDCA Newsletter – November 2021


HDCA Newsletter – November 2021

Mazkirut Reaches Decision on Upcoming Veida

by Jenna Abrams, Rakezet Chinuch

HDNA is scheduled to hold its biennial Veida, or Convention, in December 2021. Movement members have been looking forward to gathering together in-person for the first time in almost two years. However, given the ongoing COVID crisis, Mazkirut Artzit has struggled to determine whether and how Habonim Dror can responsibly hold Veida (and the accompanying Winter Seminar) this year.

For the past two months, we’ve been having conversations with many community leaders (both ma’apilimot leadership and adult partners) so that we would be able to make the most informed decision. We asked many stakeholders about what they see as the purpose/goals of Veida, the feelings around Veida in each community, the options for the format of Veida, and challenges and advantages of each of these options.

From these conversations as well as our own experience leading the movement, we have gathered that Veida needs to be a space that allows for productive dialogue that will support community-building between people from different machanot. It also needs to be a fun, engaging, social environment that can contain disagreement in a healthy way. It’s really difficult for these things to exist in a largely online format, and the ma’apilimot with whom we engaged in these questions did not support trying to do complex decision-making online. At the same time, because of COVID-19, we do not feel that it is going to be possible for us to have an in-person seminar in December where we gather as an entire movement and are still able to ensure the safety and well-being of our participants.

Given all of these conversations and the insight we’ve received from our various partners, we have decided that we will be delaying the formal decision-making process of Veida 2021 to May 2022. We will be having programming in the Winter for the movement that will support the educational and social process of Veida in May, so we will still be collecting Veida proposals in the next few months. We will also be attempting to organize regional in-person meet-ups with seminar content in December, based on the interest of each community, as well as online movement-wide programming.

Continue reading

HDCA Newsletter – Fall 2021

HDCA Newsletter – Fall 2021



Summer Mifgash!

We hope you will join us for the 2021 Covid version of HDCA Summer Mifgash. Unlike in other years, mifgash this year doesn’t involve plane tickets, hotel rooms or lots of time away from family and work. But as in other years, mifgash offers the Habonim Dror family the chance to connect with board members of other machanot, see other Habonim Dror camps, process challenges together, and have fun!

Please join us on September 19th! Simply complete this registration form.


by Erica Kushner, Mazkirol HDNA

It is safe to say no other Mazkirut Artzit has ever had to deal with the physical restraints, aftershocks, and emotional toll of a global pandemic. Jenna, Kaela, and I signed onto these tafkidim when the word Corona was barely more than a rumor. We had to rapidly shift our expectations of what working for HDNA would be like, including being in a different place or even country, no office, no travel to Israel, eizorim, or the machanot, reduced salary, and knowing we wouldn’t be able to run anything in person. Corona has created many, many issues and we have worked through them, coming up with innovative solutions to running engaging seminars or remaining connected to the wider movement.Continue reading