August 25, 2010
CT welcomes a new group
A few weeks ago, Connecticut said "L'hitraot" to last year's group of Young Emissaries who completed their year of service in communities all across the state and returned to Israel. Now, Connecticut's Jewish communities are saying "Shalom" once again, this time to welcome the new crop of 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 13th year, the Young Emissary program is sponsored by SNEC, the Southern New England Consortium, which is made up of 11 Jewish Federations in Connecticut and central Massachusetts. As in the past, these 14 Israeli teenagers, all 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. Pioneered in Westport and emulated throughout North America, the program is the only Jewish Agency "shlichut" (outreach/public information) program whose members are pre-army age.
Alon Ariel, Hometown: Gan Ner, Community: Westport, Weston, Wilton, Norwalk
Here, the Israeli Young Emissaries introduce themselves:
In my house there's me, my younger brother Yonatan (14), and my parents. I'm very active in the youth movement in Gan-Ner. I love music and listen to a very wide range of genres. I also like reading and hanging out with my friends and family. My favorite subjects in school were cinema, Bible, and literature. Math and biology weren't my best friends. I was in the U.S. in November 2008 in a delegation called "Youth Ambassadors." I stayed with a host family in Tucson, Az. for a week, and then in New York and Washington, D.C. I'm a hard worker, so I guess I'll have a great time. I'm looking forward to coming to Connecticut, and to see how the Jewish community there is similar or not similar to the Jewish community here. I am very excited to meet my host family!
Bar Yeflach, Hometown: Moshav Devora, Community: Westport, Weston, Wilton, Norwalk
I'm 18 years old. I live in with my parents and I have two sisters, Ruty, 29 and Tal, 25. Ruty is married to Ram and they have a lovely girl, Ron, almost two. They live next to our home. I have two dogs, Lucky and Snoopy, and one little cat, Pizza. After school I love to dance, paint, and meet with friends and family. My favorite subjects in school are psychology and sociology.
I was in the U.S. in 2007, at the Seeds of Peace summer camp in Maine for a month. When I come to Connecticut I expect to get to know better the Jewish community and help build a better relationship with Israel.
Shai Fogel, Hometown: Moshav Moledet, Community: Eastern CT/New London
I live in Moshav Moledet, a small village near Mount Gilboa and Haifa in the north of Israel. I was a counselor for three years and I love working with kids. I've been working at a summer camp where I live. My hobbies are many. Throughout the years I have tried dancing, music, and karate, and I loved them all very much. I chose this year of service because I believe Israel needs to maintain the relationship with the Jewish communities all over the globe. I'm looking forward to this year and am super excited about it.
Asaf Urie, Hometown: Afula, Community: Eastern CT/New London
I am really excited about coming to New London, to meet everyone and to start my work there. I'm sure we are going to have a great year! I have one brother and one sister. My mother has a gift shop and my father is a manager of a ceramics factory. I've been a counselor for three years in the Israeli Scouts. Also in the last year I was a young supervisor of the Scouts. I chose to major in theater high school because I'm good in acting.
Gal Ron, Hometown: Gan Ner, Community: Greater Hartford
I'm 18 years old and I live in Gan-Ner, a communal village on the Mount Gilboa. I just finished high school, majoring in cinema and social studies. For the past three years I was a counselor in a youth movement. Other than that I like hanging out with my friends and family, watching movies, and doing all kinds of sports. I'm very happy to be a part of this program and to represent Israel because, having lived in the U.S. for a few years, I know how important the relationship between Israel and Jews from around the world is. I'm even happier to be in greater Hartford because that is where I lived. I remember having a great time with everyone in this community.
Yinon Or, Hometown: Hoshaia, Community: Greater Hartford
I have four siblings, one sister and three brothers. In late June, I finished school at ORT Tveria Yeshiva High. At school I volunteered, helping new immigrant students from Ethiopia to blend into the social and scholastic atmosphere in school and after. I also took part in a Magen David Adom delegation to Poland, as one of the volunteer staff. I like computers, reading books, playing basketball, listening to music, seeing new places, and meeting new people. In 2008 I was in Cleveland with a youth delegation. I am very interested in learning about American Jewish life and believe that I can contribute a lot to this program and learn a lot from it.
Rom Bachar, Hometown: Afula, Community: Eastern Fairfield County
I am 18 years old. I live in Afula. I just finished high school and before I go to the IDF I decided to come to America and be a Young Emissary. My father is a technology engineer and my mother is a teacher in one of the middle schools in Afula. I have two sisters. Shay, 23, and Dekel. I have a wonderful and supportive family. One of my hobbies is playing drums and guitar, I really love music. I've been in the Israeli Scouts for the last nine years. I really like to travel and I like nature. I like extreme sports and like everybody my age, I like to have fun. I'm really excited about this year and I can't wait to bring to you my own Israel as I see it.
Yael Mayden, Hometown: Yavniel, Community: Eastern Fairfield County
I live in a small town called Yavniel in the north of Israel, a very beautiful and warm place by the Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee. My hobbies are dancing, cooking, hiking, and photography. My mother is a teacher in Yavniel Elementary School. My father is a kashrut supervisor for local businesses. I have two brothers and one sister. I am the youngest. My oldest brother, Eilon, is 28. He just got married and now he lives with his wife in Ramat Gan. Yifat, 25, just came back from her big trip in India, and now she is living in Tel Aviv. Itamar , 21, is learning in a yeshiva in Jerusalem. I am full of excitement and energy to work with all of you. I think it's important that the Jewish people around the world maintain connections as we are one people!
Aner Shofty, Hometown: Tivon, Community: Greenwich
I was born and raised in Tivon, which is a small town right outside of Haifa. Both of my parents were veterinarians. I have three older siblings, Ben, Tal, and Shai. I really like to cook, sing and act, though all of those were always a second priority compared to my duty in the Israeli Scouts movement, where I used to be a counselor. I can't express my enthusiasm towards the year; I'm sure it's going to be awesome!
Anat Desiatsky, Hometown: Kibbutz Beit-Alpha, Community: Greenwich
I live in Kibbutz Beit-Alpha, right next to Mount Gilboa. My parents made aliya from the Ukraine in 1991 with my older brother Boris, and here I was born. Five years later my little brother, Avi, was born. Like most of my family, I play stringed instruments. I learned to play the violin from the age of five and love it very much. I cannot wait to get started with my amazing community in Greenwich. I already realize that I get to live in a supportive community and that I will work with amazing people.
Ronny Daysi, Hometown: Afula, Community: New Haven
Let me tell you a secret: ever since I was in the eighth grade, I wanted to be a Young Emissary. My aim as an emissary is to bring my own Israeli and Jewish culture to the community of New Haven and connect Israel and New Haven. My mom works as a special education teacher, and my sister serves in the IDF. I was a member and a counselor for eight years in the Israeli Scouts and it is my great passion. Another passion of mine is medicine, and I wish to become a doctor one day. Last but not least, I have been playing the clarinet for five years in the Orchestra of Afula. This is the same orchestra that had a show here in Connecticut two years ago. Looking forward to an amazing year!
Lisa Skov Ahuvia, Hometown: Kibbutz Beit Hashita, Community: New Haven
I'm from Kibbutz Beit Hashita, next to Mount Gilboa. I'm a kibbutznik girl; I love the kibbutz, it is a great place. I love to work in the cow shed and milk the cows. Since seventh grade I wanted to take part in this program, and I'm so happy that I made it. I like to play tennis, listen to music, hang out with my friends and family, and just have a good time. I can speak six languages: Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Spanish, English, and Hebrew. I'm looking forward to being a part of your community and having a great year.
Dror Ben Ami, Hometown: Afula, Community: Central Massachusetts
I am really excited about coming to Worcester, to meet everyone and to start my work there. I'm sure we're going to have a great year! I live in Afula and I have one older brother. My mother is a math teacher and my father is an engineer. I've been a counselor for three years in the Israeli Scouts. Last year I was a young supervisor of the Scouts. Too much Scouts! I had to get a life, so I learned how to play a few instruments but guitar and drums are my favorites. I had a band with some friends of mine and we even performed a few times. I didn't choose to major in music in high school; I chose physics because I'm good in physics and math. I have only one problem: I really like jokes but all of my jokes are in Hebrew, so please tell me some new jokes!
Lidor David, Hometown: Gan Ner, Community: Central Massachusetts
I'm 17 years old. I live in Gan-Ner, a village on the Mount Gilboa and a beautiful place in the north of Israel. I have three brothers: one about to be 19 named Eden and in the army now, one in high school, age 16, named Oded, and one in elementary school, age 10, named Neri. My father Elisha is a paramedic and my mother Irit is a librarian in a religious high school. I was a counselor for three years in the Bnei HaMoshavim youth movement and I really enjoyed working with the kids there. I like to listen to music and hang out with my close friends. I'm really excited about next year. I believe that this work is really important, and that I can give of myself in it. I'm sure it is going to be a great year!