Post-Its | Religion & Jewish Life | Shlicha's/Shaliach's View

Weintraub Israel Center Welcomes Shaliach Yuval Malka to the Community

Yuval Malka, Southern Arizona community Shalicha

The Weintraub Israel Center, a partnership between the Tucson J and Jewish Philanthropies of Southern Arizona, is thrilled to share some exciting news: Tucson is once again bringing back a community Shalicha to foster a strong bond between our community and Israel. For those who may not be familiar with the term, a Shaliach is a remarkable individual sent by the Jewish Agency for Israel to work with communities abroad, promoting Israeli culture, Jewish peoplehood, and education. These Shalichim (emissaries) serve as a bridge connecting the communities they work in to the 70 faces of Israel. Community Shalichim work in and with more than 250 community organizations in over two dozen countries. They serve as a central resource for Israel education in the local community and help increase Jewish identity and feelings of connection to Israel.

Tucson has a long and meaningful history with Shalichim. These dedicated individuals have contributed immensely to the Southern Arizona Jewish community, enriching our lives through cultural programs, educational initiatives, and fostering deep connections with Israel. Over the years, they have become an integral part of our fabric. After a short break due to Covid, we are incredibly grateful and excited to be welcoming a Shaliach back to Tucson.

As the director of the Weintraub Israel Center, I am delighted to introduce Yuval, who joined us in Tucson this past Sunday. Yuval will be working closely with me to help the WIC animate our mission to engage the Jewish and broader communities of Southern Arizona in building a living bridge to Israel, its people, culture and history.
Yuval is a Shachar Level Shalicha, which means she is joining our community with a college degree and proven professional experience. She has an impressive background in community work and management and comes to us with a wealth of experience in promoting Israeli culture. Her passion, coupled with her expertise in community engagement, will undoubtedly bring new perspectives and opportunities for our community.

Yuval shared a bit about herself and is looking forward to getting to know our community:

“I grew up in the amazing Golan Heights in Israel. For those who aren’t too familiar with it or haven’t visited Israel – just picture green hills above the Sea of Galilee and stunning landscapes all around. It’s like living in a postcard!

These days, I live in Rosh Pina. It’s a small, charming town in the northern part of Israel. Together with my partner Nitay, we’ve created our sweet home here.

Before arriving in Tucson, I managed the Young Adults Center in Katsrin, and I absolutely loved it! It was such a fulfilling role. We planned all kinds of awesome events for the community and were there to support young adults during those important, sometimes tricky, stages of life. But that’s not all. I also got to lead initiatives that encourage young adults to get involved in community projects and even start their own. It was mainly about creating a sense of belonging and making a positive impact. When I’m not working, I’m all about exploring and discovering new things. I have a great curiosity, and I’m always eager to meet new people and hear their incredible stories. Music, photography, and painting are also some of my passions. Nitay and I both love the outdoors. Hiking, rock climbing, and simply enjoying nature make us incredibly happy.

Now, you might wonder, why on earth would we leave our friends and family behind to go on a ‘shlichut’ in a different country? Well, it was not an easy decision, I’ll admit. But here’s the thing – I truly believe in stepping out of your comfort zone and chasing your biggest dreams. And this ‘shlichut’ dream of mine has been with me since I was a young girl.

A while back, I worked at El-Al Israel Airline, and it was a blast, mainly because I got to meet people from all over the world. But what really got me was the encounters with Jews who came to visit Israel. Those moments were pure magic, sparking my curiosity to learn about their lives abroad while sharing the warm and welcoming spirit of Israel.

Choosing the perfect ‘shlichut’ destination wasn’t easy, but we knew what we wanted. We were looking for a small city with a big heart – a warm and caring community that values diversity, nature, kindness, and helping each other. And that’s where Tucson comes in! The more we learned about the city and its vibrant Jewish community, the more we fell in love with the idea of being part of it all.

I can’t wait to share the best of Israel with all of you. And oh, just wait until you taste Nitay’s amazing Israeli dishes! We’re both thrilled to join the incredible Tucson community and get to know each and every one of you.”

As we embark on this exciting journey to a more vibrant, more connected future for Jewish Peoplehood and Israel engagement, please join the Weintraub Israel Center in warmly welcoming Yuval!