Last Tuesday evening, after a slight delay due to the hurricane that hit the east coast of the US, 16 high school graduates from Afula-Gilboa set out for a year of service in the SNEC communities. This is the program's thirteenth year - the "bar mitzvah" of the Young Emissaries program run by the Jewish Agency.
The Young Emissaries program is part of the Partnership 2Gether activities that have taken place in our area for the last 16 years. The P2G project aims to forge personal ties between Israeli communities and Jewish communities the world over. The Afula-Gilboa region is partnered with 12 communities in Southern New England .
During the year of service, the teens volunteer in pairs in the Partnership communities. Their work is diverse and includes activity with a broad spectrum of age groups - from pre-schoolers all the way through to residents of retirement homes. Most of their work is directed to members of the Jewish community, although the young emissaries also work with the general local community in an effort to present Israel's positive, young face. The emissaries work in Jewish schools, synagogues, retirement homes, kindergartens, public libraries, public schools, etc.
For the emissaries, the experience is empowering, enriching and unforgettable. Their contribution in the Jewish communities abroad generates a sense of Jewish Peoplehood and kinship.