This month, Western and Central Massachusetts welcome a new group of Israeli Young Emissaries.
“The Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts is thrilled to welcome our new Israeli Emissaries, Noa Elisha and Ofek Livni to Western Massachusetts,” said Young Emissary coordinator Rachel Berezin. “Noa and Ofek arrived here at the end of August and will be staying with us through June. Noa and Ofek are volunteering through the Jewish Federation and will bring a modern face of Israel to our community. They will be very busy volunteering at many of our local Jewish day schools, synagogue schools, the JCC, local public high schools, colleges and churches.”
Noa and Ofek will be staying with host families in Western Mass. for three month time periods, Berezin said. If you are interested in hosting one of them, or if you would like to learn more about the program or invite them for dinner, contact Berezin at email@example.com
For information about the Young Emissaries in Central Mass., contact Liz Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Tal and Aviv continue to strengthen our living bridge by bringing Israel to Central Mass!” Baker said.
I live in Kfar-Tavor, which is located in the north of Israel. I have two older sisters, Shay, 23, and Nitzan, 20 — and two dogs, Lady and Berry. My parents were born in Israel; my father’s parents came from Romania and Hungary, and my mother’s grandparents came from Poland and Ukraine. My parents have many brothers and sisters, and I have many cousins. I love my family very much; they impact who I am. I decided to become a Young Emissary because I believe that the connection between the Jewish people around the world is very important. I’m looking forward to getting to know all of you and become part of the community. Aviv Jerbi
My mother and her family made aliyah from Morocco. My father was born in Israel, but his parents made aliyah from Libya. I have two sisters, Mali and Adaya, and three brothers, Amnon, Meydad and Liav. I also have four nephews. My family is a big part of my life; I tell my mom everything that happens to me, and my nephews make me happy every time I see them.
I live in a small village called Tefahot, which is in the north of Israel. It’s a religious village (I am secular) and I am very involved in my community. I am taking part in this program because I believe that the Jews in the Diaspora and the Jews in Israel should be united, and should maintain a connection with one another. I already have many ideas to bring our communities together.
WESTERN MASSNoa Elisha
I live in a moshava – a small village — named Binyamina, which is between Tel Aviv and Haifa. My father, Doron, and my mom, Tamar, both work as managers.
I have two little brothers, Guy, 16, and Itai, 12 – as well as a dog named Bunny.
I’ve been in the Binyamina scouts for nine years; I was a counselor for two years and was head of the scout’s community staff.
I love spending time at the beach, which
is a 10-minute drive from my home. I love drawing, dancing, going on trips, surfing wakeboard and hanging out with friends.
I love sports — basketball, soccer and tennis — and I trained for 11 years in Shi Hon martial arts, in which I now have a black belt. I also love the outdoors and camping, music and the sea.
Where are they now?
We check in with some past Young Emissaries to see what they are doing back home in Israel…
Central Mass. (2004-2005)
I always wanted to be a doctor! I volunteered with Magen David Adom (Israel ambulance service) after the year in Worcester. I joined the army and was a medic who instructed reserved medics and doctors and prepared them to treat injuries in wartime. These things just strengthened my will to be a doctor. After the army, my wife-to-be Anna and I decided to go to Romania to study medicine; she wanted to be a dentist and I wanted to be a general physician. The program that I’m a part of is in English. It wouldn’t come true without the year I spent in Massachusetts.
I came to give, to teach, to learn about the Jewish community, and be a part of it. And I left with the best thing a person could ask for – a dream. My wife and I are about to start our 6th and last year of medical school. Our third anniversary was Sept. 15. We are talking about having babies soon. And everything worked out perfectly. So I can easily say that my year over there was one of the most influencing times of my life. RON GABAYAN
Western Mass. (2012-2013)
Hi, I am Ron Gabayan and I was an emissary with Noam during 2012-2013. I came back to Israel a year ago and those days I am finishing my first year as a student in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I am studying communication and international relations. I am doing it as part of my commitment of serving in the IDF (the Israeli army): First, I am going to study for three years, and then, after finishing school, I will serve as an officer for six years.
Central Mass. (2006-2007)
I was the emissary in Worcester in 2006-2007. In the army I served as a commander and guide at the communication and intelligence unit. After the army I started working for the Jewish Agency, for many years in the summer camp program, and during that time completed my B.A. in political science at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where I live today. In April I actually started managing the Young Emissary program at the agency as it got so big, we now have a much bigger staff then we had a few years ago. The program now sends 120 young emissaries to Jewish communities around the world. Right now I am in Slovenia with the folklore ensemble I dance in. Noam Zaffran
Western Mass. (2012-2013)
Hey there, it’s Noam again! I’m now almost half way through my military service, serving as a psycho-technical evaluator and interviewer. I had a four-month evaluators course where I received training in performing interviews aimed at evaluating candidates for military recruitment. It’s the first step of every soldier in the IDF, which makes my job so interesting! So far I’m doing well, but still missing you – my family overseas! Take care and hopefully we will meet again soon! DANIEL INBAR
Western Mass. (2013-2014)
It is hard to adjust to life being back at home after such an incredible year! I don’t start my military service until November, so I got a job and am volunteering as the “big brother” of a sweet boy. In November, I will be in the Egoz Reconnaissance Unit. This unit is an Israeli ground forces commando unit in the Israel Defense Forces which specializes in guerrilla, anti-guerrilla warfare, and more complicated ground activity.
I miss everyone in Western Massachusetts and wish you a happy, healthy New Year! Keep in touch! SHIR RICON
Western Mass. (2011-2012)
It’s been two years since I took the plane back to Tel Aviv. I started my army service in December 2012, in the south of Israel (about 4-6 hours by bus from Afula). I love my work in the army. It is one of the hardest things I have done, but also one of the greatest. I tell everyone here how much I miss my community in Western Massachusetts and hopefully I will be back soon for a visit. I wish everyone a sweet new year with no more wars! I miss you!
Western Mass. (2011-2012)
After leaving the community in June, I traveled for two months across the United States and Canada. I arrived home in time for grape harvest season. My family has a wine business, so I was able to work with them for a few months prior to the start of my IDF services. In October of 2012, I joined the Israeli Navy and in a couple of months I will finish my training as an officer on one of the Israeli Navy’s vessels.
I miss you and hope to have the opportunity to visit soon. I wish you all a happy New Year!
Central Mass., (2011-2012)
My name is Ziv Zamir. Some of you might already know me from when I was the Young Emissary for the Central MA area. I am 20 years old and live in northern Israel in a place called Givat Ella, near Afula. Six months ago I was drafted to the IDF. Until now I have been in combat training and will finish at the end of October. My unit is a classified one in the IDF. We go through eight months of combat training and study a lot in class about radio communication as well. The Young Emissary program was one of my most incredible years in life. Living as an Israeli in America and being a link to Israel for so many people was very special and meaningful. This could not have happened without Liz Baker my community coordinator, and my host families I’ve been living with for a year, the Narod family and the Feldman family.