In August 2008 we three emissaries, eighteen year old high school graduates, left the Mateh Yehuda - Beit Shemesh region for a year of service with the Washington DC Jewish community. As part of the bond between the communities, Partnership 2000 Beit Shemesh - Mateh Yehuda - Washington - South Africa of the Jewish Agency decided to establish the Service Year project which is designed to strengthen the bond, and bring the young Israeli spirit to the Jewish community of Washington DC.
The service year incorporated daily volunteer work at the only Jewish school in Washington (JPDS), focusing on Jewish holidays, Israeli identity, Israeli culture and learning Hebrew. All these topics, and others, were incorporated into the curriculum. Familiarity with Israeli identity also comes through in other places at which we volunteered - at synagogues and the USY Jewish youth movement.
Shani Danino from Beit Shemesh:
"It was a year full of experiences, learning and widening my horizons into other areas of Judaism, while making a contribution - giving and taking."
Yossi Argov from Ness Harim says:
"I felt proud of being an Israeli Jew at every activity I led."
Maya Witfield from Nataf adds:
"I am happy I was able to part of the link that joins our community with the Jewish community of Washington."
The project is continuing this year, too, with three youths:
Amit Regev, Sivan Bacharach and Hadass Avigad,
After a year of volunteering and activity we recommend that you 12th graders also apply for the selection process.
The returning emissaries