Meet the Jewish Federation’s 2020-2021 Community Shlichim

Each year, The Jewish Federation’s Community Shlichim Program brings shlichim (emissaries) to Greater Washington. The program connects Israelis with our community and transforms how thousands of community members deepen their connection and relationship to Israel.

Through a program of  The Jewish Agency for Israel and generous funding from Federation, our community will benefit from the nation’s largest-ever mishlachat (delegation) of community shlichim to serve in our community’s congregations and schools. The community shlichim are dedicated to the Jewish people, Jewish heritage, and to Israel. They are hand-picked from different parts of Israeli society and diverse professional backgrounds.

In conjunction with their congregations and schools, the shlichim will develop projects surrounding a social impact issue, creating unique programming designed to increase Jewish awareness, knowledge and pride, bridge the gap between Jews of different backgrounds and the State of Israel, and promote an understanding of Israel and its ideals both at their “home” institutions as well as for the larger community. The shlichim, in turn, will discover the diverse and vibrant American Jewish community through their varied experiences in Greater Washington.

Learn more about their lives in Israel, what motivates their mission to educate around the world, and how they inspire others from their stories.

Netta 300x300

NETTA ASNER

B’nai Israel Congregation

Growing up in Silver Spring until age 8, makes being a Shlicha in Maryland a full circle for me. Being able to serve the Jewish community I grew up in and provide a connection to Israel for the B’nai Israel community is an undescribable feeling.”

Netta was born in Silver Spring, Maryland and moved to Israel in 2004. She served in the IDF as part of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit in the North American Desk working with American and Canadian reporters based in Israel. She recently completed her degree from Hebrew University studying International Relations and Jewish History and Contemporary Judaism. During this past year, she worked as an English tour guide at the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament.

Katya 300x300

KATYA DAVIDZON

Moed Educational Program – Bethesda

Katya, 29, was born in Ukraine. In 1998, when she was seven years old, Katya`s family made Aliya and settled in Afula, a city in northern Israel. Katya started fencing when she was nine years old, and since then has won multiple titles including the Israeli championship for fencing, and is a member of the Israeli national fencing team. In 2010, Katya started her army service and was recruited to the Ordnance Corps. Because of her fencing achievements she served in a special unit for athletes. During her army service she got her fencing coach diploma from the Wingate institute. After completing her military service she moved to Kfar Saba and started working as a coach at Hapoel Kfar Saba Fencing Club. Katya also has a B.Ed. in early childhood education from Beit Berl College and has been working as a preschool teacher for the past five years. Katya’s interests include bouldering, hiking, music, reading, and spending time with her family and friends. She is very excited to be a shlicha and share her view of Israel with the community.

Yasmin 300x300

YASMIN DRESCHER

Agudas Achim of Northern Virginia

Yasmin, 22, was born in West Hartford, CT and spent her upbringing intermittently there and in Ra’anana, Israel. Growing up in a tight-knit Jewish community in the United States (including attending Solomon Schechter Day School) and in Israel, as well as coming from an American-Israeli family with relatives on both sides of the globe, has given her an outlook which is deeply rooted in both cultures and ways of life. After high school, Yasmin attended a pre-army gap year leadership program (Mechina) in Haifa where she lived, volunteered, learned, and traveled through Israel with a diverse group of 30 of her peers. Yasmin was drafted to the IDF and served as an Arabic translator in the 8200 Intelligence Unit. Yasmin enjoys spending time with her friends and family, hiking around Israel, and meeting new people.

Talia 300x300

TALIA GARBER

B’nai Tzedek

Talia, 29, is from Ra’anana.  Her parents made aliyah from England, so she speaks “British English” at home. She was a military photographer in the Home Front Command unit, filming, and editing, and running the Emergency Television Broadcasting Studio. During her service, she also worked with Galatz (the IDF radio station) producing their online video news segments. Talia lived in Jerusalem for five years while studying at the Sam Speigel Film and Television School, and then lived in Tel Aviv for four years where she worked as a video editor. She has been involved and worked with the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) for about eight years, and went to Camp Ramah for seven summers as a Shlicha and the in-house videographer. She then worked as a member of the training and examination team for the Summer Shlichim Unit at JAFI. Talia is also a professional makeup and special effects artist, and enjoys singing and dancing, and making and watching movies!

Yael Grunfeld Square IMage

YAEL GRUNFELD

Beth Sholom Congregation and Talmud Torah in Potomac

Yael, 25, was born in Tel Aviv and grew up in Givat Shmuel. In 2017, she moved to Jerusalem for her BA studies in History and English Literature at the Hebrew University. Before her army service, Yael went to study in Beit Midrash ‘Migdal Oz.” During her service, Yael served in the Education Unit as a commander in ‘Nativ’, a special course on Jewish and Israeli history and culture. She later went to work as a Social Counselor at Camp Ramah in Wisconsin. Before proceeding to her studies, Yael worked for El-Al airlines as an operator in the department for passengers with disabilities. During her studies, Yael worked as a social counselor in ‘Tlalim’ with a variety of people from around the world while traveling in Israel. She also worked as a Hebrew teacher at Ulpan in Jerusalem. Yael is very excited and looking forward to begin her work as a Shlicha at Beth Sholom.

Naama 698x698

NAAMA KADOSH

Bender JCC of Greater Washington

Naama Kadosh, 26, is from Moshav Kfar Harif. All her life she has been surrounded by lots of nature, animals, and people. So, the connection to people, soul, and body is something that has been imprinted in her and very important to her. In the army, she served as a soldier and commanded an operational team in the south and north of the country. Last year, she graduated from the Department of Communication and Education at Ben Gurion University, and before that, she graduated from ‘Wingate’ where she studied studio and movement instruction. Today she works in media marketing and writes content, as well as leads dance training for women and girls. She is really looking forward to sharing her experience and perspective with the Greater Washington Jewish community.

Hagar Netser_Square_300x300

HAGAR NETSER

Ohr Kodesh Congregation

Hagar, 29, was born in Ariel and is arriving to us from Tel Aviv. After graduating high school, Hagar served as a Chief Sergeant for two years in the Education and Youth Corps, creating educational programs and materials for soldiers. After she finished her IDF service, she graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy and Judaic Studies from Tel Aviv University. Before becoming a shlicha, she was employed at Walla! News as a senior news editor while simultaneously working on her Master’s in Philosophy at Tel Aviv University.

Rotem Ur 300x300

ROTEM UR

Shaare Torah

Rotem, 23, is from Shorashim, a Masorati (Conservative) community village in the Galilee. Before becoming a Shlicha, Rotem worked in several different educational organizations where she focused mainly on Jewish education and teaching Hebrew to new Olim from around the world. Rotem has served as commander in the education unit of the IDS, working with new immigrants and Druze soldiers.

Shy Pic 300x300

SHY ASHKENAZI

Pozez JCC of Northern Virginia

Shy, 36, has lived in Jerusalem his whole life. He has a Bachelor’s in Education and Theater and has applied his education into his every-day work with the shlichim and with youth in Israel. He coordinated a national youth leadership program and worked with youth movements, training young adults while also doing stage work in musicals and various theatrical events (acting, writing, directing, and producing). His biggest passion is his music – Shy is a singer-songwriter and performs all over Israel and the US, and takes his passion for music into his work with Jewish communities as a song leader at Jewish summer camps, and in Israel for different groups and organizations. After serving for four years as a commander and an operations officer in the IDF in a special operational communications unit, he started his journey with the world of Shlichut in Jewish summer camps in the US. In the past 13 years, Shy has taken the role of Shaliach at different summer camps such as Camp Tel Noar in NH, Camp Kimama in NY, Camp Airy and Louise in MD, and Jcamps of Owing Mills in Baltimore and held a variety of positions including counselor, song leaders, coordinator of leadership training, head of Jewish life, and more. During those years, he worked for the Jewish Agency for Israel as part of the training staff for summer Shlichim, and has had the privilege of working with different Jewish movements and organizations in the North American camping world. Shy has an older brother, two sisters, three lovely nieces, and two wonderful parents. He is excited to join our community, to give of himself and learn from everyone, and to create special and meaningful experiences together.

Noa 300x300

NOA OHAYON BAB

Senior Shlicha, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

Noa is a social entrepreneur, Jewish educator and community builder. Noa has more than 12 years of experience in both tech and education/nonprofit sectors having worked at the Edmond De Rothschild Foundation and at Hebrew University in leadership development and community building. She is a certified teacher, and holds a Master’s in Jewish Studies and Education from Hebrew University’s Interdisciplinary Revivim Honors Program, and is a graduate of executive programs from Princeton University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the ROI Schusterman Global Changemaker program.ֿ

Noa is also the co-founder of Dana and Noa Make My Career (in Hebrew this makes sense!), a leading job search platform in Israel with more than 90,000 followers and a 250,000 monthly reach that offers career opportunities in the humanities and social sciences, as well as a series of offline career development workshops through dozens of organizations throughout Israel. The nonprofit startup strives to democratize career opportunities. Thousands have already found their jobs via this initiative and tens of thousands have stated that it has positively affected their career paths. With this responsibility, Noa and her team make a huge effort to support diversity and inclusion into the labor market. Noa is the former Head of Brand & Communication at eBay in Israel and is currently the Jewish Agency for Israel’s senior shlicha to The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, where she will lead our community’s shlichut and play a key part in community building.

Thank You and L’hitraot (farewell) to Greater Washington’s Outgoing Community Shlichim!

As summer comes to a close, several of our community shlichim (Israeli emissaries) are preparing to return to Israel following a successful slichut. But before we let them go, we asked them to reflect on their experiences in Greater Washington.

*Through the Imagine Israel initiative, Federation fulfills its long-standing commitment to connecting Washingtonians with Israel and Israelis through the lens of social chance. A wide variety of social impact programs foster meaningful relationships with the country and its people – programs that make real, sustained impact locally and in Israel.