Community Shlichut Program
The Volunteer Shlichut program, created by the Jewish Agency for Israel, is committed to strengthening Jewish identity and creating a connection between Diaspora Jewry and the State of Israel. The JCC Israeli shlicha (emissary) works directly within the community, with children, students and adults, to impart Jewish heritage and Zionism, to encourage members of the community to visit Israel, to provide the community with a taste of Israel, to organize a wide range of educational activities based on the Jewish calendar cycle, and to represent Israel before the general public.


Matan Samovsky brings Israel to the JCC
JCC’s new Community Shaliach arrives in Stamford

For the next year or two, Matan Samovsky will be living in Stamford and working as the Stamford JCC’s Community Shaliach through the Jewish Agency for Israel’s (JAFI) Community Shlichim Program. (Shaliach means “messenger” or “emissary” in Hebrew; the plural of the word is shlichim.)

The program sends Israelis to serve in Jewish communities throughout the world, where they engage people of all ages in a range of Jewish cultural, educational, and social activities.

“The Jewish Agency’s shlichim are dedicated to the Jewish People, Jewish heritage, and to Israel,” said Eric Koehler, CEO of the Stamford JCC. “They are hand-picked from various streams of Israeli society, and different professional and academic backgrounds. The goal of the program is to plant the seeds of a secure Jewish future by implementing programs that are designed to increase Jewish awareness, knowledge, and pride; and to promote an understanding of Israel and its ideals.”

Samovsky, who is 24 years old, is from Rosh-Haayin, near Tel Aviv. He has worked with children in summer camps since he was fifteen years old, and has worked in the Ahary movement, an organization which builds leadership among Israeli youth. He served in the IDF for four years, as a class commander and as a company sergeant first class with a special artillery unit. No stranger to the United States, Samovsky has just completed his second summer working at Camp Wise, a Jewish camp in Cleveland.

“I am excited to come to Stamford because I have heard a lot of good things about your community,” Samovsky said. “I heard that it is a really welcoming and warm community, and also very knowledgeable and involved in both Jewish and Israeli matters worldwide. I hope to bring Israel closer to you all by providing an international point of view, and to make new relationships that will last a lifetime.”

“In evaluating what special role our JCC can play in the Jewish agenda without duplicating services that are already being performed elsewhere in the community, we believe that our special niche is connections,” said JCC CEO Eric Koehler. “Connections between the U.S. and Israel, and American and Israeli Jews. Our intent in bringing Matan here as our JCC Community Shaliach is to demonstrate the best in Israeli culture, arts and sports, and to give a taste of what life is like for Israelis.

“Our three previous community shlichim have had a huge impact in this community over the last few years,” Koehler concluded. “It is our hope that in continuing this program we will further our goal of helping to build a lasting bridge of connection to the common destiny of the Jewish people.”

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