Yes, it is true. We are going back to Israel, ending our shlichut [outreach; literally, “sending out”] in Southern Arizona. It has been a remarkable and a challenging year, and my family and I are extremely grateful for the experience.
We were blessed to be chosen to take part in the important shlichut project, bringing Israel to life here, and learning so much about the Tucson and general American Jewish community. Yes, the global pandemic situation of the past few months necessitated some difficult decisions to be made, but I am reflecting with great joy on the months that preceded it. I was excited to work with all synagogue, cultural, and educational community institutions during the year, and made new and meaningful personal and professional friendships that will last, I hope, forever.
I look back with satisfaction on the meaningful discussions we had — with me and with the shinshinim [teen emissaries] — about Israel and its meaning and value to the community. Sharing my family story at different events was important for me. Sharing and hearing from Holocaust survivors was extremely deep. Attending Shabbat services of all forms was transformative. Working in a new professional environment, with extremely talented and dedicated colleagues, was illuminating. Bringing a variety of in-depth Israel content to different settings was a pleasure. And above all, living in a different cultural and physical environment was eye-opening.
I would like again to thank the community and its professional and lay leadership for their trust and support during this time. I am going away with much sadness, but full of energy and commitment to tell the story of American Jewry, and in particular the story of the community here in Southern Arizona, back in Israel.
Especially, I would like to thank Ron and Diane Weintraub, who had the vision to create an Israel program that will serve the entire community. I hope that my short time here was as meaningful to the community, as it was for me and my family.
I invite all to stay in contact and send a note when planning a visit to Israel. I wish everyone a great and peaceful summer.
Facebook: Inbal Shtivi
Email: [email protected]
Inbal Shtivi has been the community shlicha (Israeli emissary) for Southern Arizona and director of the Weintraub Israel Center, a joint project of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona and the Tucson Jewish Community Center