Jewish Agency Expands Israel Emissary Program in North America

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Jewish Agency Emissaries will, for first time, serve directly in Synagogues in New York City, Greater Washington and San Antonio, in addition to federations, campuses, JCCs and movements

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Our Shlichim are selected for their unique ability to light that spark, which leads to increased participation in programs like Birthright Israel, Onward Israel, Masa and - in some cases - Aliyah...

The Jewish Agency for Israel’s (emissary) Shlichim initiative has become such an important and recognizable part of the North American Jewish landscape that The Jewish Agency has expanded the number of emissaries for next year by 20 percent. And for the first time ever, The Jewish Agency is recruiting Israelis who identify with a specific stream of Judaism and embedding them into Synagogues.

Each year, dozens of Jewish Agency emissaries (Shlichim) fan out across North America, to Jewish federations, campuses, JCCs, summer camps, youth movements and religious streams. Through strategic programming and sheer force of charisma, they engage Jews of all ages and religious backgrounds and build deep and lasting ties between Israel and the communities they serve.

The total delegation will include 240 Shlichim. This includes 10 additional Young Shlichim (energetic, pre-IDF Israelis), bringing the total to 53; 10 additional campus Shlichim, called Jewish Agency Israel Fellows to Hillel, bringing the total to 60; and there will be seven Shlichim serving individual congregations in New York City, San Antonio and Washington D.C.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington has partnered with The Jewish Agency to pilot the synagogue emissary model.

“American Jewish life lives in the Synagogue more than anywhere else, and the vast majority of American Jews relate to their Jewish identity in a primarily religious way,” said Anton Goodman, community Shaliach for Greater Washington. “This new model will not only enable American Jews to connect with Israelis who share many of their Jewish values, it will also empower Israelis with a better understanding of American Judaism and inspire them to impact Israeli Jewish life on their return.”

Barry Spielman, The Jewish Agency’s director of communications for North America added that the increased ubiquity of Shlichim is a critical part of the Agency’s focus on reconnecting North American Jews to the global Jewish family and to Israel by “bringing Jews to Israel and Israel to Jews.”

“We know that real human-to-human connections work,” Spielman said. “When Jews start to feel a deeper connection to Israel, its people and its land, they begin to also identify more strongly with the Jewish people as a whole.

“Our Shlichim are selected for their unique ability to light that spark, which leads to increased participation in programs like Birthright Israel, Onward Israel, Masa and - in some cases - Aliyah, as well as involvement in experiences offered through The Jewish Agency’s Partnership 2Gether framework.

“These programs change lives. And by investing in our emmisary program, we believe we are shaping the course of the Jewish future. ”

About the Jewish Agency for Israel
Investing in a vibrant Jewish future, The Jewish Agency for Israel continues to address the greatest challenges of our People in every generation. We connect the global Jewish family, bringing Jews to Israel- and Israel to Jews. We build a better society in Israel- and beyond- energizing young Israelis and their worldwide peers to rediscover a collective sense of Jewish purpose. At the same time, The Jewish Agency continues to be the Jewish world’s first responder, prepared to rescue and bring Jews home to Israel from countries where they live at-risk. More information can be obtained at

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Joshua Berkman
Jewish Agency for Israel
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