Special to the Ledger
STAMFORD – The Stamford Jewish Community Center (JCC) has announced the arrival from Israel of Matan Samovsky, who will serve as community shaliach for the next year or two. Samovsky comes to Stamford through the Jewish Agency for Israel’s (JAFI) Community Shlichim program that sends Israelis to serve in Jewish communities throughout the world. The shlichim – which is plural for “shaliach,” meaning Israel emissary – engage people of all ages in a range of Jewish cultural, educational, and social activities.
“The Jewish Agency’s shlichim are dedicated to the Jewish people, Jewish heritage, and to Israel,” said Eric Koehler, Stamford JCC CEO. “They are hand-picked from various streams of Israeli society, and different professional and academic backgrounds. The goal of the program is to plant the seeds of a secure Jewish future by implementing programs that are designed to increase Jewish awareness, knowledge, and pride; and to promote an understanding of Israel and its ideals.”
Samovsky, 23, is from Rosh Ha’ayin, a town near Tel Aviv. He has worked with children in summer camps since he was 15 years old and has been involved in the Ahary movement, an organization that teaches leadership skills to Israeli youth. He served in the IDF for four years, as a class commander and as a company sergeant first class with a special artillery unit. No stranger to the United States, Samovsky recently wrapped up his second summer working at Camp Wise, a Jewish summer camp in Cleveland.
“I am excited to come to Stamford because I have heard that [Stamford] is a really welcoming and warm community, and also very knowledgeable and involved in both Jewish and Israeli matters worldwide,” said Samovsky. “I hope to bring Israel closer to you all by providing an international point of view, and to make new relationships that will last a lifetime.”
“In evaluating what special role our JCC can play in the Jewish agenda without duplicating services that are already being performed elsewhere in the community, we believe that our special niche is connections – connections between the U.S. and Israel, and American and Israeli Jews,” said Koehler, noting that the previous three JCC shlichim have had a huge impact on the community.
“It is our hope that in continuing this program we will further our goal of helping to build a lasting bridge of connection to the common destiny of the Jewish people.”