A few weeks ago, Western and Central Massachusetts said “L’hitraot” to last year’s Young Emissaries who completed their year of service in the community and returned to Israel. Now, the communities are saying “Shalom” once again, this time to welcome four new 18-year old Young Emissaries who just arrived and are eager to pick up where their predecessors left off: That is, to strengthen the living bridge between Israel and the communities to which they have been assigned.
Now in its 14th year, the Young Emissary program is sponsored by SNEC, the Southern New England Consortium, which is made up of 11 Jewish Federations in Massachusetts and Connecticut. These Israeli teenagers from the Afula-Gilboa region of Israel, have delayed their Israeli military service to perform an academic year of outreach in SNEC communities, while living with local host families.
The Young Emissary program is a project of the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Partnership2Gether, which connects 400 communities worldwide with regions in Israel. The program is the only Jewish Agency “shlichut” (outreach/public information) program whose members are pre-army age.
Here, the Israeli Young Emissaries from both Western and Central Massachusetts introduce themselves:
I live in Timrat which is a community settlement in the Jezraely Vally. I have one brother, Yonatan, 22, who just finished his service in the IDF, and two sisters, Noam, 30, who finished her second degree in business management and Shy, 27, who studies visual arts at Bezalel Art School in Jerusalem. My father is a former BG in the IDF and my mother is a psychotherapist.
I love basketball, hiking, and sports in general. I love playing guitar and singing and I love spending time with my friends. I was a counselor in B’nei Hamoshavim youth movement for three years.
My greatest passion is Israel, I love the views and the people; that is the main reason I came here — to tell you about my Israel, my love.
I’m 17 years old and I graduated sports class in Gymnasia Realit high school. Ever since I was born, I have lived with my family in Rishon L’Zion city, a big city near Tel-Aviv.
I have been dancing ballet and modern dance for moreover than seven years and, recently, I started salsa dancing and joined the cheerleading team of Hapoel Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem in the Israeli basketball league. I also like hiking, camping and traveling around Israel with my family.
I took part in few different youth programs and movements such as Young Diplomats, Young Ambassadors and Young Leaders; and, as a graduate of those programs, I guided some of their new classes and, during the past year, I took part in two different German-Israeli youth exchange delegations, as well as an American–Israeli youth exchange delegation. My social activities also include volunteering at community centers.
I have heard so many good things about the Jewish community in Western Mass and I’m grateful for the opportunity to volunteer and spend a year of my life there.
I’m 18 years old and I live in Shimshit, a lovely community village in Emek Yizrael (Yizrael Valley in the lower Galilee). I have one sibling, my older brother Tomer, 21, who is currently in the IDF. My mother’s name is Maya and my father’s name is Baruch. I’m very close to my family, we have a really strong connection, and they are as excited as I am about this year. My father’s family is religious, so we celebrate all the holidays the traditional way. The Jewish tradition has a warm place in my heart; therefore, I’m thrilled to get to know a different way of practicing Judaism, as well as a new culture.
To me, the special and most beautiful thing about Judaism is that being a Jew means not only being a part of the Jewish religion, but also a part of the Jewish people. That is why I see a connection between Jews all over the world; a connection that must be nurtured, and that is what this year is all about.
I can’t wait to meet you all!
I am 18 and I live in Timrat — a small community village about 20 minutes from Afula. There are five people in my family. I have two siblings: Ori, my little brother, is 7½ years old, and Shahar, my older sister is 22. Rafi, my father, is 52 and is president of a company named Tzinoron Hamizrach Htichon — in English, “The Middle East Pipes.” Sari, my mother, is 49 and is a school counselor at the Nir HaEmek High School near Afula. I decided to participate in this Young Emissary year because I felt that I wanted to do something for my country and for the Jewish people in general. Although I’m going to do three years of military service (right after this year), I felt that I need to do something else for the Israeli and the Jewish nation that I really love and care about! See you soon!