A few weeks ago, Western Massachusetts said “L’hitraot” to last year’s Young Emissaries who completed their year of service in the community and returned to Israel. Now, Western Mass is saying “Shalom” once again, this time to welcome two 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 Partnership 2000, 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 in Western Massachusetts introduce themselves.
My name is Noam Zaafran. I come from a small village in the north of Israel called Ram-On and I love hiking and traveling. I have a little brother, Shay, who is going to be in sixth grade, and an older sister, Almog, who is a soldier in the IDF. I am very excited to get to know the community and to meet all of you!
My name is Ron Gabayan. I live in a small village called Shimshit which is in the north of Israel. In my free time I like to play basketball, to broadcast on the local radio, to play the drums and take part in the youth movement called “Beni Hamoshavim.” I am really excited about next year and I would like to meet you all as soon as possible.