HUC-JIR Students Travel to India in partnership with JDC Entwine

January 3, 2024

Zschool students current and alumni on the trip

A group of HUC-JIR students spent a week in Mumbai and Kolkata, India on the Entwine Insider Trip with JDC Entwine learning about India’s rich and fascinating Jewish history and meeting with local community members and its future leaders.

Group photo of students in India

This one-of-a-kind opportunity gives our young leaders the chance to experience the country, learn its history, and connect with the Jewish communities, thanks to a generous gift from Jane Weitzman and the Weitzman-JDC Fellowship. Student trip participants commented on their experiences:


“Throughout the journey, we toured a variety of synagogues, organizations, and sites, including the Magen David Synagogue, Elephanta Island, outdoor flower market, and more! The trip was meaningful, educational, and thought-provoking.” — Ross Halfant, first-year Master of Arts in Jewish Nonprofit Management (MAJNM) student

Inside of a synagogue



“During the trip, we were joined by the Jewish Youth Pioneers. They are a group of Jewish young adults who ultimately aid in the continuity of the Jewish community in India. It was awesome getting to know them and learning about their Jewish experience while living in India. We discovered so many overlaps in our Jewish traditions and some interesting differences as well. It was heartwarming to learn that while I am baking challah, lighting Shabbat candles, praying at synagogue, or discussing Israel, my friend Sharon in India is doing the exact same thing across the world.” — Ashira Boxman, fourth-year rabbinical student

Ashira Boxman and a community member



“It really felt like being Inside (Jewish) India: In just a short time, we got a sense of what from the Jewish past is gone, lingers on, and what is very much alive – and through that lens we also could develop a first understanding of Indian society today.” — Julia Knobloch, fourth-year rabbinical student

Julia in a photo at the gateway of India in Mumbai



“A particularly moving part of the trip for me was sharing a meal with some members and leaders of the Reform community in Mumbai. It was wonderful to learn about their community’s rich history and their plans for the future.” — Zoe Dressner-Wolberg, second-year rabbinical student

Dinner with the Reform Community



“The most meaningful part of the trip was the people who were a part of it. I loved connecting with and learning from the Jewish Youth Pioneer participants from Mumbai who joined our group for the first few days. It was also incredible to meet and spend time with HUC-JIR students from all campuses and programs. After this trip, I feel more connected with both the HUC-JIR student community and the global Jewish community!” — Hannah Bloomberg, fourth-year rabbinical student

Group photo of students in India



“We traveled from synagogue to synagogue, singing with the entirety of our neshamot and learning about Indian Jewry — the beautiful ways in which they’ve kept their traditions alive over centuries.” — Yoav Varadi, second-year rabbinical student

Yoav Varadi and a community member



“In addition to visiting sites of historical importance, we spent much of our time in Mumbai with people either involved in or working at organizations supported by the JDC. From the JCC of Mumbai, which serves as the center of Jewish learning in the city, to an organization called Om Creations, a trust that provides vocational training and employment to adults with intellectual disabilities, we saw firsthand how the JDCʼs support enables people in Mumbai to do the work to which they feel called.” — Hannah Pomerantz, third-year rabbinical student

Group photo of students in India



“Thanks to JDC Entwine and HUC-JIR, we experienced India with every one of our senses. I had the privilege to add the dimension of learning about Jewish history in Kolkata and Mumbai, connecting to the Jewish present with young adult participants and visiting active synagogues, and to expand my knowledge about other religions and cultures including Hinduism and Jainism.” — Julia Ullman, third-year Israel Rabbinical Program (IRP) student

Interior of Synagogue