Late last month, Southern New England welcomed a new group of Israeli Young Emissaries, eager to begin strengthening the living bridge between Israel and their host communities.
Now in its 19th year, the Young Emissary program is sponsored by the Southern New England Consortium (SNEC) and the Jewish Federations of Central Mass. and Connecticut. The teens, from Israel’s Afula-Gilboa region, have delayed their military service during this year of outreach.
The teens were treated to a day of fun and orientation at Camp Laurelwood in Madison, Conn., where they met the heads of the Massachusetts and Connecticut Federations and other Jewish community leaders.
The Young Emissary program is a project of the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Partnership2Gether, which connects 400 communities worldwide with regions in Israel.
Here are Central Mass.’s two new Young Emissaries:
Dolev Stav lives on Kibbutz Beit Hashita with his father, whose family comes from Eastern Europe, and his mother, whose roots lie in Yemen and Iran. His stay in Connecticut won’t be the first time he’s lived in the States: when he was two years old his father’s job took his family to New Orleans for three years. In high school, Dolev majored in theater and psychology.
“Ever since I was a little kid,” says Dolev, “I loved learning about Israel and Judaism, and I was very interested in learning about Jewish customs all over the world. I strongly believe in making connections and in interacting. I have always been interested in Jewish communities all over the world, and I think that it is important to expand our horizons and learn about our culture.”
Dolev hoped to represent Israel at its finest. “I want to share my point of view of this incredible country with the community.”
Lior Levi was born and raised in Afula, with her mother, whose family immigrated to Israel from Morocco, and her father, whose family came from Iran. She also has two older brothers and an older sister, all of whom are officers in the IDF. Lior’s brother-in-law is also in the military.
Dedicated to helping others, Lior participates in “Screen Savers,” a special project that aims to increase awareness of cyber bullying by teaching kids about the importance of being cautious while using the internet. Additionally, she volunteers with Magen David Adom. In her spare time, Lior loves to travel throughout Israel, especially Mount Gilboa and the Jezreel Valley.
“My main goal this year is to bring my own story about a teenage girl living in Israel and make a connection with the community,” she says, emphasizing the need to connect younger generations of American Jews to Israel. “Since I was a young girl, I had a passion to represent Israel.”