One of our overarching goals at TanenbaumCHAT is to help studentsdevelop a deep relationship with Israel and Israelis. We have an exciting opportunity to bring a new type of Shalich (literally “emissary” or “messenger”; plural shlichim) to TanenbaumCHAT who will help advance that goal.

I am pleased to announce that we have recruited two married shlichim, Shlomi and Ya’ara Edelshtein, who will join our school community for the next two years. Their focus will be informal and experiential education as opposed to classroom teaching.

Shlomi and Ya’ara are about 4 years post-army.  Shlomi served as a commander in the Haruv Battalion and earned the rank of Company Sergeant Major.  On Israel’s Independence Day in 2010 he receive the “President’s Citation Award” for his excellence in service.  Ya’ara served as a medic in the Navy Seals unit and worked as a high ranking medic in IDF Central Command.  Both are current students at Hebrew University.  Shlomi is studying political science and education, and Ya’ara is studying political science and sociology.

Ya’ara has worked with at-risk youth in Jerusalem, served as a counselor at Camp Ramah in New England for three summers, worked as a counselor in the B’nei Akiva Youth Movement in Israel, and participated on the Birthright Partnership Program.  Shlomi has worked for Ramah Seminars in Israel as a Division Head and for Camp Ramah in New England as a summer counselor.  He is also a certified Guide in the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem museum. Like Ya’ara, he, too, was active in a leadership role in the B’nei Akiva Youth Movement in Israel.  Their references describe them as creative, passionate, hard-working, risk takers, not afraid of failure.

As I mentioned, Ya’ara and Shlomi are not formal teachers. Rather, they are experiential educators who will help infuse the school with additional Israeli ruach (spirit), explore ways to connect our students to their peers in Israel, enhance the shabbaton experience, increase awareness at school of Israeli current events, and assist with the hand-off from TanenbaumCHAT to university life.

They will report to Rabbi Mandel at TCW and Judith Shapero at TCK, work with Kyle Borenstein and Josh Sable at TCW and Keren Romm and Jamie Cohen at TCK, and collaborate with our current Shlichim and other staff members.

The continuation of our Shlichim program has been made possible through the generosity of the Jewish Agency in Israel, the UJA Federation here in Toronto, and donor parents who are committed to seeing the Shlichim program continue even amidst budget cuts.

The presence of Shlichim has been a signature program of TanenbaumCHAT that has made a significant impact on our students.  (For more about the change in the role of Shlichim, see my blog post on Edline dated January 29, 2015.)

Please join us in welcoming Shlomi and Ya’ara when they arrive September 1, 2015.

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