01 Aug Double Shlichut: Twin Emissaries Serve US Summer Camps
Double Shlichut: Twin Emissaries Serve U.S. Summer Camps
Usually inseparable, Israeli twin sisters Gaya and Hagar are serving at different camps in North America as emissaries for a second summer, doubling their impact.
Identical 22-year-old twin sisters from the central Israeli town of Mazkeret Batya, Hagar and Gaya have been inseparable since birth. They’ve done everything together: studied in the same class at school, joined the same youth movement, trained together in gymnastics and were part of the same athletic teams.
Last year, they were both selected by The Jewish Agency to serve as summer camp Israeli emissaries in the U.S. – but at different camps. Gaya was a Hebrew instructor at a summer camp in Chicago, and Hagar was an Israeli culture counselor at a summer camp in Minnesota.
Each year, The Jewish Agency recruits charismatic and energetic young Israelis to travel abroad as Summer Camp Shlichim (Israeli emissaries) in North America, where they work in Jewish summer camps as counselors, specialists and educators. They participate fully in camp life, sharing Jewish traditions, teaching Israeli and Jewish culture, and serving as role models for campers and staff. In 2023, 1,500 Shlichim are working at 158 camps across North America.
“Last year was the first time we were separated for a two-month period. We were used to sharing every challenge that comes our way in life, supporting and being an anchor for each other. And then suddenly, we were so far apart, experiencing such significant events without each other,” shared Hagar. “However, despite the geographical distance, we spoke every day, shared all the details, talked about our experiences, exchanged professional tips, and supported each other from a distance.”
As a fellow resident of Mazkeret Batyav, Amira Ahronoviz, CEO of The Jewish Agency, is thrilled to have Hagar and Gaya, as well as the many other Jewish Agency Shlichim, working to directly bring the Israeli story to Jewish communities.
“Shlichim influence hundreds of thousands of young people and families in Jewish communities, building the vital bridge between Israel and world Jewry,” said Amira. “I am very proud of all these young emissaries, and I am even more excited when the Shlichim come from my community in Mazkeret Batya.”
For the 2023 summer camp season, the sisters decided to come back to the U.S. as Israeli emissaries, returning to the same camps they were sent to last year.
“We became very attached to the community, the families, and the campers where we served and we both felt that we should return to do Shlichut this year as well,” explained Gaya. “We see the importance of strengthening Israel’s position in the world, and we felt that we still have something to contribute.”