Meet the Jewish Federation’s 2021-2022 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.

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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.

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SAPIR BEN DOR

Shaare Torah

Sapir, 22, is from Kfar Adumim, a mixed community of orthodox and secular families near Jerusalem. Before becoming a Shlicha, Sapir worked as a youth counselor where she led and mentored a youth group of 13- and 14-year olds. She served in the Israeli Defense Forces as part of the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, working with the different media channels both in Israel and internationally. Sapir enjoys playing the Ukulele, hiking, baking, and reading. She wanted to become a Shlicha to put a human face on Israel for the Greater Washington Jewish community and build meaningful personal relationships.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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MALA HOD

Olam Tikvah

Mala, 22, is from Pardes Hana. She grew up in the Israeli youth movement “Hanoar Ha’oved Vehalomed” (the working and learning youth), a sister movement to Habonim Dror. In the youth movement, she held several educational positions at her branch, running summer camps and year-round activities. After graduating from an agricultural high school in Pardes Hana, she went to a “Shnat Sherut,” a volunteering gap-year at her youth movement. Afterwards, she continued from the gap-year to a special course in the IDF for youth movements called “Nachal.” She participated as a commander at a program for pre-army youth to experience the army while in high school. Later on, she served as a commander at the Jewish Agency’s “Marva” program for Jewish youth to get an IDF experience. Following her army service, Mala worked in several educational positions at the “Hashomer Hachadash” (the New Guardian) youth movement to develop an agricultural lifestyle in Israel. She also was part of a theater group in Tel Aviv.

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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.

Senior Shaliach

Photo of Hagai Dagan Schlachter

HAGAI DAGAN SCHLACHTER

Senior Shaliach, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington is thrilled to welcome Hagai Dagan Schlachter to our community as our senior shaliach (Israeli emissary)! Learn about his background, career path, and what he hopes to bring to Greater Washington.

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.