Meet the Jewish Federation’s 2019-2020 Community Shlichim
The Jewish Federation’s Congregational Shlichim Program, part of Federation’s Imagine Israel initiative*, is bringing eleven shlichim (emissaries) to local synagogues and schools this year. The program connects Israelis with congregations and schools and transforms how more than 25,000 congregants and students relate 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 congregational shlichim to serve in our community’s congregations and schools. The congregational 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 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.
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.
MoEd and Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital
Danielle, 28, was born in Petah-Tikva and grew up in Oranit. Before she arrived in the U.S. last year for the first time, she lived in Tel- Aviv and thinks it’s the best city in the world. Danielle served as a Hebrew teacher for new immigrants and Arabic speakers in the Education and Youth Corps in the IDF. After her army service, Danielle got her Bachelor’s degree from Seminar Hakibutzim college in Special Education and Hebrew literature. She has experience working with kids, including kids with disabilities, after being a counselor in the Hebrew Scouts movement and in the Noar-Latet youth organization for a few years. Danielle is a true educator with a broad vision and passion for this field.
MIRI BERNOVKY TIBON
Agudas Achim Congregation
“One of the many things I love about Israel is that it’s a truly diverse country, home to religious, ethnic and cultural communities of all sorts. I love visiting Jerusalem during the Jewish High Holidays, going to Nazareth around Christmas, and visiting Muslim friends in the Galilee during Ramadan. Only Israel can offer you such a combination.”
Miri, 30, is from Kibbutz Nahal Oz. Before becoming a Shlicha, she worked as a social worker at the Summit Institute in Israel, assisting foster families all across the Negev area. While in Israel, she earned a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work at Tel Aviv University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She served in the IDF’s Education Corps as a commander in Nativ, the military program for soldiers who go through Jewish conversion during their service. Miri and her husband Amir, a journalist, live on Kibbutz Nahal Oz, situated along Israel’s border with Gaza.
Adas Israel Congregation
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 make-up and special effects artist, and enjoys singing and dancing, and making and watching movies!
Congregation Beth El and Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School
Tal Greenberg, 24, is from Lehavim, a small town north of Be’er Sheva. As a child, Tal moved to Newton, MA, for a few years with her family and experienced American Jewish life first-hand. Thanks to what she learned while living in the U.S., Tal taught private lessons in English and was a coordinator in eight English learning summer camps, as well as a counselor in a Jewish camp in Pennsylvania, leading Israeli teens while helping them learn English and giving them the opportunity to experience “American life.” Throughout her life, Tal has taken part in youth movements, coached tennis classes, and was active in different teen programs. After graduating high school, Tal joined the IDF as a Lieutenant in the Education Corps. She served an extra year in the army in Haifa working with city council members, and as the Deputy Commander of the officer course in the Education Corps. Tal started her studies in Ben Gurion University before she came to our community in the summer of 2018, and plans to continue when she moves back to Israel next summer. Through her Shlichut, Tal hopes to share the special Israel that she experiences every day. She is proud of the uniqueness of her country and of the warm people living in it, who believe in goodness, togetherness and unity, alongside the complexities and difficulties. She exposes her students and community to Israeli culture in her environment, the traditions of her family, and her military experience.
Beth Sholom Congregation
“Growing up in a Zionist Modern Orthodox Family, together with my combat service in the Golani brigade and a lot of experience with Birthright groups, fills me with an incredible source of motivation to be a Shaliach. From my time at university, my charity work, my various jobs, my work in local politics, to multiple times with Taglit-Birthright, it feels like everything I have gone through in my life has brought me to this moment.”
Tomer, 29, was born in Petah-Tikva and is coming to us from the neighboring town of Bareket. After graduating from high school, Tomer was in charge of logistics, as well as training and discipline of troops as the First Sergeant in the Golani Unit in the IDF. Once he finished his military service, he went to Ariel University and earned his dual B.A. in Sociology and Human Resources, and Political Science. There, he learned to develop and hone his critical and creative thinking and speaking skills. Most recently, Tomer worked at IROBOT Israel, where he was the project manager and general manager, and was especially chosen by the headquarters to open their new store in the southern part of Israel. Tomer has started his second year as the shaliach at Beth Sholom, and is really excited and motivated to continue his work for Israel in the community.
Congregation Bnai Tzedek
Nadav, 28, was born and raised in Haifa, and went to “Leo Beck” high school. In 2010, he left home for Shnat Shirut for his gap year, where he volunteered in the Hamachanot HaOlim youth movement. In the summer of that year, he joined the IDF and was assigned to an infantry position in the Nachal brigade, where he soon became a Commander and Staff Sargent. He demobilized in 2013, and worked at Rafael, the company that makes the “Iron Dome” missiles. Later on, he worked at a Jewish summer camp as a summer shalich, and then went on to college. This past summer, Nadav completed his degree in Environmental Sciences from Tel-Hai College. In July 2019, he married Chen and currently lives in Rockville, MD.
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.
Congregation Har Shalom
“I believe in the value of family and that ‘family is everything.’ The family unit has always been important in preserving Jewish culture and it is often considered the heart of most Jewish communities. My intention is to bring the Israeli Jewish family unit model to the community, and to use it as a tool to create a strong family connection inside the community and between the community and Israel.”
Yael, 24, is from Gedera, a town in the “Shfela” area, 20 minutes away from Ashdod and Rehovot. While in high school, Yael was an instructor and team coordinator for the Maccabi Youth Movement, where she headed the logistics team and managed the activities. Once she graduated, she served in the IDF Air Force as an Air Traffic Controller, Staff Sergeant, and shift commander. During and after her military service, she joined three Taglit-Birthright trips, where she helped the participants have a true Israeli experience and see Israel through her eyes. After she finished her military service, she headed to Camp Ramah Wisconsin to work as a counselor and dance instructor. In the past year, Yael has been a Shlicha and Youth Director at Congregation Har Shalom, and during the summer she spent time as a village leader at Capital Camps.
Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation
Idan Sharon, 25, was born in Jerusalem and is coming to us from Beit Shemesh. After graduating from high school, Idan participated in a pre-army academy to develop leadership and social activism skills. Idan served as a drill sergeant in the Israeli Defense Forces in the School for Educational Professions, and as a lecturer in the Education Corps Mobile Unit. After his service, he worked for Tlalim, one of the largest tourism companies in Israel, coordinating and supervising hundreds of tourist groups from all over the world, as well as accompanying Taglit-Birthright groups. Before becoming a Shaliach, Idan was working as a lecturer at Midreshet Oranim, an educational organization dedicated to giving a new perspective on Judaism, Jewish values, and tradition to non-religious Israelis. Idan is a sustainability-aware vegan LGBTQAP socialist who is passionate about technological innovation, philosophical debates, and Harry Potter.
Rotem, 23, is from Shorashim, a conservative community village in the Galilee. Before becoming a Shlicha, Rotem worked in several different educational organizations where he 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.
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 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.
*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.