Why do we invest so much into our delegation of shlichim (Israeli emissaries)? What do they actually do?
GMW has the largest mishlachat (delegation) of any Federation in the country. We deploy our ten shlichim out into the community where they infuse energy everywhere they go.
But we can’t take for granted that all Jews feel a connection to, or pride in, the State of Israel.
6,000 miles from New Jersey, Israel is a far-away land that, for many, only comes alive through the media. And not always in a good way.
As a community we’ve asked ourselves how do we build connections and relationships from here to Israel? We know that the best way is through missions, bringing people to Israel. And we know that deep connections to Israel are incredibly important for building Jewish identity and community here in New Jersey. But not everyone can take a trip. Through our shlichim we can bring Israel here on a deeply meaningful scale, across all age demographics, and in a unique way.
Our shlichim are on the clock from morning until night, usually six days a week. They drive from one end of our community to the other and reach thousands of people through their educational classes and programs.
They tackle issues such as terrorism and peace, pop culture and identity.
And while the curriculum is important and we want to educate our community about Israel, these programs are also a tool we use to bring Israel to Greater MetroWest.
When a rishon stands in front of a Hebrew school class every week, she becomes a living embodiment of Israel. Not a story on the news but a real person who builds relationships with the kids in her class. So when these kids hear about a stabbing in Tel Aviv, it’s not just a sad event to them, but an event that affects someone that they have grown to know and love.
Through our mishlachat Israel becomes personal.
And because we have a large mishlachat, we can do this meaningful work not just with children in Hebrew schools, day schools, and summer camps, but also in our synagogues, adult education classes, and college campuses.
Our Rishonim (Doron, Lotem, Gili, Dotan, Ran and Abraham) are generally 18-19 years old and are with GMW during a gap year between high school and army service. Thanks to the generosity of the Murnick, Rovner, Halpern, and Aidekman families, and our UJA Annual Campaign, we’re able to send them to work mainly with children in day schools and Hebrew schools, and to live with host families in the community. Technically they’re also …
Shlichim, who, in our community, are those in their early to mid-20s and have completed their IDF service and university. Moran, Lavi and Tehila are professional educators and work with our community synagogues (Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox) and with college students.
Our Community Shaliach (Moshe) is a high-level professional and educator. He leads our Israel engagement initiatives which include our mishlachat as well as Diller Teen Fellows, Birthright, Onward Israel Internship, and others. He manages the logistic of the mishlachat and our relationships with the schools, synagogues, youth groups, etc.
We’re blessed to have warm, generous hosts for our rishonim who open their homes to a new family member. Thank you to all of you who have hosted and continue to host these young faces of Israel.
Thank you to our partner synagogues, camps, JCCs, and agencies, where you’ll see our awesome shlichim hard at work.
And thank you to our lay leadership, who guide this inspiring team: Paula Saginaw, Chair of Global Connections; Stephanie Sherman, Chair of Tsafona (North America Israel Engagement Platform); Debbie Rovner, Deputy Chair of Tsafona; and Gerri Russo, Rishonim-Shlichim Liaison.
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