Israeli consul general proves inspiring, educational in Swampscott talk

Posted Wednesday, Dec 15th, 2010
Swampscott Reporter

Swampscott Reporter
Posted Dec 14, 2010 @ 03:30 PM

Swampscott - More than 150 North Shore people gathered in Swampscott on Sunday, Dec. 12, to celebrate the Jewish community’s commitment to youth education and to welcome the new Israeli consul general, Shai Bazak, to the North Shore.

This was Bazak’s first appearance on the North Shore, and his visit demonstrated both his passion for youth and the community’s visibility as a leader among the greater Boston community.

The event was originally inspired by the 2010-11 North of Boston Jew Crew JLI Teen interns, Sasha Matusevich, Eli Bakal and Charlene Swain, who won grand prize in an international video contest, and chose to put the money toward celebration for the class.

The interns worked very hard this past semester to make the Israel 3D class successful, and their opportunity to present Bazak with a gift on behalf of North of Boston Jew Crew was well-deserved.

As soon as Bazak began to speak, he had the crowd’s attention, and his desire to encourage and inspire the teens became apparent.

Even with more adults in the audience than teens, he spoke directly to the teens for the entire talk.  He began with a phrase used in the Israeli Army to explain the leadership tactics of the Israeli generals, and he related this idea to being a leader for yourself and within your community.

“If you take the lead, people will follow you,” he said. “If you are weak, you will let others take the lead in your life.”

He then reminded the audience of the many reasons that a Jewish person has for being proud of himself and of Israel, including the success of Israel since 1948.

“Israel is so successful because Israelis are always taking the lead and are never satisfied until things are made better,” Bazak said.

Elizabeth Leykin and Jonah Weinstein gave the student address, and both spoke about how Israel 3D strengthened their connection to Israel and broadened their perspective. Asked her thoughts about the event, Leykin called it “amazing and very inspiring! It was very moving that so many things were invented in Israel, and I really like that he encouraged us so much that it’s always better to be a leader instead of a follower.”

As was the personal hope of the consul general, the students left the course with an empowered sense of identity and readiness to act. Many have already committed to next semester’s course for high school students, entitled, “OMG: The Battle Between Faith and Logic,“ and the interns are very excited to continue their internship and welcome all the new and returning students to the course. This course will begin March 6 and run for six weeks.

North of Boston Jew Crew also announced a new educational initiative for seventh- and eighth-graders. This 10-segment course, which will meet every other Tuesday night starting Jan. 18, is called “Life in Motion” and will explore the human life cycle and relate each step along the way to what it means to be a Bar/Bat Mitzvah and entering into the world of adulthood.

The next North of Boston Jew Crew social event, “Chili on Ice 2,” will take the Jew Crew to Boston Common’s Frog Pond for ice skating under the stars and lots of delicious and homemade kosher chili and corn bread.  Registration for this event is open and can be done at until the RSVP deadline of Jan. 14.

The North of Boston Jew Crew extended a big thank-you to all of Israel 3D: A Community Celebration’s co-sponsors, including the Jewish JournalCohen Hillel AcademyJCCJewish Federation of the North Shore, and the North Shore Israel Fund, who provided a very generous grant towards the event.

The food was provided by Rami’s in Brookline, and Ryan Reilly and Greg Zanni of Krav Maga USA in North Reading, gave those in attendance a very exciting Krav Maga experience.

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