Conference Brings 100s Emissaries Together | The Jewish AgencyShlichim Conference Brings Hundreds of Emissaries Together

Shlichim Conference Brings Hundreds of Emissaries Together

Shlichim Conference Brings Hundreds of Emissaries Together
Shlichim (Israeli emissaries) from across North America convened in Stamford, Connecticut, for an inspirational training conference.

Israeli emissaries in a session at the conference
Photo: Nir Arieli

On Sunday, November 18, 2019, more than 350 emissaries came together for four days to bond, hear from motivational speakers and ask questions as part of their training. Over the course of the conference, the Shlichim were provided with additional tools to deepen their abilities to strengthen relationships between world Jewry and Israel.

They heard from the heads of both The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), as well as Natan Sharansky and Israeli judo champion Yarden Gerbi, among others.

“To be with all the Shlichim was so energizing and uplifting. They are the true ambassadors of the state of Israel,” said Eric Fingerhut, President and CEO of JFNA. “What Shlichim do is so critically important to Jewish communal life in North America and around the world.”

“There was so much positive energy at the conference. The hundreds of Shlichim there are the ones that build every day more and more bridges between Israel and the Jewish world,” said Jewish Agency Chairman of the Executive Isaac Herzog.

On Monday, Gerbi, retired Israeli judo world champion and Olympic bronze medalist, spoke to the Shlichim and afterward, praised the work her fellow Israelis are doing in North America.

“The Shlichim I’ve met are full of love for Israel, kind, inspiring and know they have been tasked with a lot of responsibility. Getting to speak at the conference… it made me so happy that I could touch people and represent Israel just like they do,” Gerbi shared on social media.

You came to this Shlichut not because you wanted a trip abroad but because you have a sense of purpose, that you know this is your path, and you want to contribute. And that makes me feel a lot of hope and optimism.

A select group of Israeli emissaries, The Jewish Agency for Israel's Shlichim are called to manifest our collective heritage in communities around the world. They act as living bridges to Israel by promoting Israeli experiences, facilitating Jewish social activism, and speaking authentically about faith and culture.

On Tuesday, Herzog and Fingerhut sat on a panel and reflected on their personal paths to where they are today as well as the Jewish People’s path and the current challenges facing Jews globally and why the Shlichim’s role is so important.

“One of the most challenging issues we face today is the idea that we can’t disagree on issues and still remain a united Jewish people. Having disagreements is different than being divided; we are not divided,” stated Fingerhut.

“Every Jew’s path is different but what brings us all together is this engine, which is in our hearts, to be part of the great Jewish story,” said Herzog to the Shlichim. “You came to this Shlichut not because you wanted a trip abroad but because you have a sense of purpose, that you know this is your path, and you want to contribute. And that makes me feel a lot of hope and optimism.”

Annually, The Jewish Agency sends about 2,000 Israeli emissaries to communities around the world, working to strengthen relationships with Israel, especially among the younger generation in the Diaspora. These Shlichim serve in summer camps, youth movements, schools, college campuses, community organizations and more.

The North American Shlichim conference took place a week after a conference was held in Brazil for The Jewish Agency delegation in South America. Similar conferences will be held in Europe, Australia and South Africa for Shlichim serving in those regions.

Isaac Herzog (center) with the Shlichim in attendance at the conferencee
Photo: Nir Arieli
Isaac Herzog (center) with the Shlichim in attendance at the conferencee
Photo: Nir Arieli