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Connecticut welcomes 2018 Israeli Young Emissaries!

This month, Connecticut welcomes a new group of Israeli Young Emissaries who arrived in late August and are eager to begin work strengthening the living bridge between Israel and the communities to which they have been assigned.

Now in its 20th year, the Young Emissary program is sponsored by the Southern New England Consortium (SNEC), made up of the Jewish Federations of Connecticut and Central Massachusetts. The teens from Israel’s Afula-Gilboa region have delayed their military service to perform a year of outreach in SNEC communities, while living with local host families.

The Young Emissary program is a project of the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Partnership 2000, which connects 400 communities worldwide with regions in Israel.

The Ledger asked each Israeli Young Emissary to introduce themselves to our Jewish communities. Here is what they had to say.


Roy Sulimani and Liron Binyamin.


Liron Binyamin

I was born in Gan Ner, a small village located on the Gilboa Mountain, where I have many good friends. I have two amazing parents, one younger brother named Roie, and a dog named Tyson. I studied in Emek Harod high school and majored in Arabic and theater.

My biggest dream is to be an actress. I really love performing. I hope to incorporate my passion for performing into some of the programs I bring to Eastern Connecticut.

I love Israeli music and playing the guitar. I was a counselor in the youth movement B’nei Hamoshavim for two years and I really enjoyed my work there.

I want to bring Israel to Connecticut from my point of view and learn about life in the Jewish community of eastern CT as well as in general in the US.

I really hope to make great connections with the eastern CT Jewish community!


Roy Sulimani

I live in Hatzor Haglilit, a beautiful town in the north of Israel, with my mom, Limor, and my step-dad, Yoram. My mom and step-dad recently got married and I am so very happy for them! – as well as my two siblings: my twin, Nave, and my older sister, Gal. I also have a dog named Toly. They all play a big part in my life.

I just graduated from Amit High School where I majored in physics and math. I was a fellow in the Young Ambassadors program and at the age of 17 I was the head of the youth council of Hatzor for one year.

I really can’t wait to bring Israel to the Jewish community of eastern Connecticut and show my beautiful country to you through my eyes.




Nir Sultan & Amit Akerman

Amit Akerman

I live in Modi’in with my mother, Rakefet, my father, Joseph, and my older sister, Reut, who is currently serving in the army as a recruiter profiler. My mother works at Tel Aviv University as coordinator of the International Programs in the Faculty of Humanities. My father is director of the Responsible Business Unit in the Ministry of Economy and Industry. Previously, my father served as Israel’s economic representative to Sweden, Finland and Norway, and before that as Israel’s representative to Switzerland and the World Trade Organization.

In high school I majored in computer science, cyber and physics.

I was a counselor in the scouts for one year. I was also a counselor in scouts camps during the summers, and I still go to scouts twice a week.

In my free time, I enjoy going for runs, working out, hanging out with friends and, of course, going to the beach. I was a gymnast for 10 years and took judo classes for two years.

I want to show Israel through my eyes and to strengthen the connection of the Hartford community with Israel. What I love about Israel is the diversity in our country, going to each city and seeing different people and a different view from all the other cities. I love the fact that I live in a country where, as a Jew, I am always safe and can always depend on mutual support wherever I go.


Nir Sultan

I live in Afula with my family: my father, Moshe, works for a high tech company, and my mother, Ziva, works in a pharmacy. I have three older siblings:  Ran, 27; Dan, 26; and Maya, 20, who is currently serving in the IDF.

I love music and I play tenor saxophone with three different Afula orchestras. I like playing jazz and classical music. I joined the Israeli Scouts at the age of 15 and served as a counselor. I also enjoy playing basketball, spending time with friends, traveling in Israel. Most recently, I became interested in photography.

As a Young Emissary, I hope to bring my Israeli experience to America then bring my American experience back to Israel as well. And I hope to make a lot of friends!




Noa Saitowitz

I live with my family in Matan, a small suburb in central Israel near Kfar Saba.

I have an older sister who is currently serving as a combat soldier in the IDF. In high school, I majored in theater arts and Arabic.

I love playing basketball and many other sports, but when I’m not on the court you’ll probably find me volunteering at the youth movement in Matan called HaIchud Ha Haklai’I  – The Agricultural Youth Movement. I see great value in volunteering and giving back to the community, strengthening the relationship between Israel and the Jewish communities abroad as well as building bridges between different cultures.

I am looking forward to meeting new people, making new friendships, building great memories and having lots of new experiences during my year in New Haven.


Ziv Peleg

I live in small village called Ram-On with my parents, Michal and Youval, and my dog Charlie. My brother, Ron, is serving in the IDF and my sister, Shahar, is currently living in Tel Aviv.

I love to cook and bake, and traveling all over the world. I volunteer in my village in the B’nei Hamoshavim youth movement. I like volunteering because I really believe it’s important for everyone to give back to their community and their country. I believe that every small deed counts.

I chose to join the Young Emissaries in the U.S. this year because I believe it’s important to keep the relationships between Israel and Jews all over the world strong and united.





Eyal Marom

I’m from Daverat, a beautiful kibbutz near Afula. My father, Jonathan, is a colonel in the IDF Air Force. My mother, Yifat, is an accountant in Afula. I have two younger sisters, Aya and Shir, both of whom are in elementary school.

In high school, I majored in both software engineering and music. I have been studying jazz and playing the piano since the age of seven. In addition, in my last three years of high school, I participated in the IDF program ‘Magshimim,’ the national cyber program that trains young students from tenth to twelfth grade to become intelligence cyber officers. I also participated in the B’nai-Hamoshavim youth movement, where I was a counselor for two years.

I chose to become an emissary because I believe that the connection between our communities is important. I feel strongly that this connection is needed to keep the Jewish people together. My goals is to become a part of the “living bridge” by taking a larger role in connecting Jewish life across the world.


Shay Eshel

I live in Moshav Ram-On in the Yizrael Valley. I love living in the Moshav.

I come from a family of four: My father Amir is a lawyer, my mother Yael is a CPA, and my little brother Reyi is two years younger than me and we are very close.

I have been dancing for 11 years: classical ballet, modern, jazz, tap. I dance the syllabus of London’s Royal Academy several times a week. I also enjoy scuba diving, swimming and spending time with friends.

I chose to become a Young Emissary because I love Jewish life and I believe that the connection between the Jews in Israel and the Jews in the Diaspora is unbreakable. Moreover, I want to serve the State of Israel and represent my country in the Jewish community abroad. I’m thrilled to share my love for Israel with Connecticut’s Jewish community.


Rotem Sharon

I live in Alloney Abba. I am the youngest of three children – my sister, Adi is 24 and studying physical therapy at Haifa University; my brother, Tomer, is 22 and recently completed his service in the IDF. My father, Dror, is the CEO of a company called Magal; and my mother, Yael, is the COO of a company called DGA.

In high school I majored in both physics and media, which included documentary filmmaking. I like music and playing the piano and guitar, as well as knitting, crocheting, embroidery, etc. I was also a part of B’nai Hamoshavim youth movement, where I was a counselor for two years.

I chose to be an emissary because it gives me the opportunity to strengthen the important connection between Israel and the Diaspora Jewish communities, and to spread the Israeli culture.


Yuval Shahar

I come from a small communal village called Gan Ner in the beautiful Gilboa area, where I live with my family: my father, Hanan, a police officer, my mom, Esther, an artist and English and art teacher, and my brother, Roi, 23, an IDF officer.

In high school I majored in Arabic and in theater arts, including acting, writing and more. I enjoyed every minute I was on stage.

I have four years of “hadracha” (leadership) and volunteering experience in two different organizations: one serving disabled children, and the second, the B’nai Hamoshavim youth movement, where I served as an instructor and mentor for a group of 30 kids. I like sports, especially soccer, and have participated in athletic competitions since a very young age. I also enjoy music and dancing.

I wanted to be a Young Emissary because I believe that the best way to learn about and understand Israel is to meet an Israeli like me, who grew up in Israel and can tell about it from the Israeli point of view.

I love Israel and I promise to represent Israel in the best way I can.





Chen Zabatani

I live in Afula with my my parents, Tanya and Shuli, and my siblings, Tal and Ziv.

In high school I majored in physics and science engineering. I also pariticpated in a special program called Magshimim that deals with cyber security. It was founded by the Prime Minister’s Office. In the future, I hope to serve in a cyber unit in the IDF Intelligence.

I love traveling, photography and music and hosted a radio show for two years when I was 15.

Last year my teacher asked the question “Who do you think will be prime minister in the future?” Then he turned to me and said, “ I believe you will.”  The thought of being prime minister made me laugh. Henry David Thoreau said, “What you get from accomplishing your goals is not as important as what you become from accomplishing your goals.” So, maybe one day I’ll be prime minister or perhaps I’ll be something else, but until then I’ll continue to grow and just be me.

In the summer of 2017, I participated in a youth delegation to the SNEC communities as a counselor-in-training at the Worcester JCC. I can’t wait to meet new friends and reconnect with those I met last summer in Central Mass.!

Matan Kupervaser

I have lived in Afula since the day I was born. My mother, Tali, is a school counselor, and my father, Betsalel, is the head supervisor of musical education in the ministry of education. I have a twin sister, Inbar, who is 10 minutes older than me. I also have a younger sister, Yahav. I love both my sisters very much.

I have studied piano for 10 years, and I have been playing saxophone – alt, tenor and baritone – since fifth grade. I have played in five different musical ensembles: The Youth Orchestra of Afula, the Big Band, which is a jazz ensemble, the High School Ensemble, the Afula’s Saxophone Quartet and the National Youth Orchestra of Israel.

Music is a big part of my life. Most of my best experiences like touring in the USA, Portugal and China with my ensembles have been through my music.

I’ve also been a guide and head counselor with the Afula Scouts. And, I’m a huge sports fan – especially soccer, basketball, tennis and wrestling.

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