(March 6, 2018 / JNS) A new Israeli program celebrating the work of Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky will invest in the advancement and optimization of the agency’s emissaries worldwide.
The Jewish Agency was established in 1929 to provide vital services and connect Jews in the Diaspora to Israel. The organization currently employees 2,000 emissaries who work as camp counselors, campus representatives, Jewish school and community-organization staff, and aliyah facilitators.
In honor of the Sharansky’s ninth year of tenure, the Shlichut Institute will provide all emissaries with advanced continued education, tools and technology to enhance their professionalism and effectiveness.
The initiative will be launched at a special event in New York on March 7 celebrating Sharansky’s work. Titled “An Evening of Storytelling Inspired by Natan Sharansky,” it will be attended by 43 Israeli emissaries from across North America, former U.S. President George W. Bush and an array of dignitaries.
Sharansky gained fame and esteem in Israel as a Prisoner of Zion in Soviet Russia, incarcerated for almost nine years as a Jewish refusenik who had expressed his desire to emigrate to Israel. A worldwide campaign for his freedom finally led to his release to Israel in 1986.
Sharansky went on to serve as minister of interior in the coalition of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
“On the one hand, it is essential for Jews around the world to get to know Israelis to strengthen their connection to Israel,” said Sharansky. “And on the other, there is no better way to strengthen the Jewish identities of Israelis than by encountering world Jewry.”