I was equal parts nervous and excited when I found out that I would have the opportunity to travel to Israel for the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) Shlichim Training. I had never left the continent prior, let alone been on a plane for more than 4 hours, however the excitement won, and the experience I had made all the nervous jitters worth it. From the moment I stepped off the plane, I felt completely welcomed by Israel.
Shlichim are young adults from Israel who have decided to work abroad for a period of time as ambassadors of of the country. We are incredibly fortunate to have two Shlichim joining us at Camp Kef this Summer where they will be integrated into our camp staff. I spent a lot of time getting to know them over the trip and am really excited about what they will be able to bring to our camp community.
I spent four days traveling the nation with ten other JCC Camp Directors, visiting sights like the Old City in Jerusalem, but also taking the time to learn about sustainability at an Urban Farm in Be’er Sheva, and discover how Israel helps move the world forward at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation. When it was finally time to do our training seminar with the Shlichim, I had developed a connection to the State of Israel that I didn’t know was missing in my life prior.
It was an honor and privilege to be able to spend time training these individuals who were taking such a big leap of faith, traveling abroad to another country for the entire summer, and I will never forget the experience. As I returned home, and went back to the office, I was missing Israel a bit. To my surprise when I arrived back, Diller Teen Fellows from Herzliya were on a trip visiting our Philly Diller Teens here at the J. It was really nice to feel a piece of my experience here when I got back, and their visit helped to make my transition easier. It was a reminder to me that the JCC and the State of Israel have an incredible connection and it is vital to keep this connection flowing with experiences like these so that others may be inspired as well. Stay tuned to read more about our Herzliya Diller Teen Fellow visit next week!
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,