When Herut met Miki

When Herut met Miki.
A shared vision brings one couple together in love and service.

Each year, The Jewish Agency for Israel sends more than a thousand Israeli emissaries—Shlichim—abroad to help strengthen Jewish identity. They are the living connection to Israel in Diaspora communities around the world. Shlichim are hand-selected to represent the best of Israel. Their credentials ensure that any Jewish institution, anywhere, has a staff member who can speak authentically about issues of Zionism. They act as Israeli role models to the youth. It’s all part of The Jewish Agency’s greater mission: to connect Jewish people around the world.

We brought Israel to the Houston community for two years. Now, we will bring American Judaism to the State of Israel.

Each year, hundreds of Shlichim return home to Israel after serving in Jewish communities in the Diaspora, undergoing transformative professional and personal experiences. Shlichim return infused with motivation and a strong desire to influence society.

Herut Gez and Miki Plotkin share this mission. The couple fell in love while serving as Community Shlichim in Houston, Texas. After five years, Herut feels that he and Miki are “interconnected.” As Shlichim, they manifested that connection outward, together.

Like most tales of fate, they met randomly, while studying at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Though that might have been where their relationship began, it was their shared passion that moved them forward. Serving in Houston, they forged friendships that significantly influenced both how they approach their faith as well as how they help others do the same.

“The community in Houston is a community in which all the streams work together, which enabled us to work together with everyone and get to know them,” Miki says.

Serving in Houston opened their eyes to new aspects of their religion and culture they’d never considered before. Houston society was encouraging for them. They were inspired by the way holidays were celebrated in local synagogues. And, the community seemed to have open lines of communication —even in the unlikeliest of circumstances.

“For me, to see all the young professionals sitting together and thinking about the community, or a Chabad rabbi sitting together with a female rabbi discussing the community’s challenges... it’s something you don’t see in Israel,” says Herut. “You can’t even imagine it in Israel.”

After two fulfilling years in Houston, Herut and Miki returned home to Israel to build their lives together. They will be the new leaders in Israeli society, as Shlichim often become. The couple is planning a wedding and intend on bringing America’s sense of Jewish community to their Israeli neighbors. “We brought Israel to the Houston community for two years. Now, we will bring American Judaism to the State of Israel, to all the circles we are in — to friends and family,” she says.

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