Amnon Maggid — Connecting Israel & Cincinnati
On Walmart, Nerves, and Learning to Swim: 3 Weeks in America—by Hadas Silver
I am so pleased to introduce you to Hadas Silver, one of our two new Friends from Israel, or Chaverim M’Israel. I am going to give her, and our other Chaver, Alon Peretz, some space here regularly to share how their year is going. Hadas starts us off with a wonderful and touching post about her first three weeks in Cincinnati. You’ll also see these in the Israelite. —Maia
By Hadas Silver, 2016-17 Friend From Israel in Cincinnati
This September the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati welcomed two new Friends from Israel, Alon Peretz and Hadas Silver, who will stay till the beginning of summer 2017. This year marks the 13th year of the Friends from Israel / Chaverim m’Israel program, which brings two post-high school teenagers from our partner city, Netanya, to Cincinnati to share themselves, and what they know about Israeli life, with people across the Cincinnati area. In 2014 alone, the two chaverim met over 5,000 kids, teens, and families. They met with 19 non-Jewish organizations, and 55 groups in all.
Three weeks ago I moved to Cincinnati from Netanya, IsraeI. I’m one of two young emissaries—or Chaverim M’Israel (Friends From Israel)—here for a year of service after high school and before my Israel Defense Forces service. Over these past three weeks I have learned so much, and I wanted to share a few of these “lessons” with you:
- Now I think about it, why wouldn’t you buy your pots and pans at the same place you buy your PJs?
- When you say ‘good morning’ to strangers on the street, they really do answer!
- Bigger is better, and trust me, from groceries to office supplies, there is always a bigger option.
- Handing your purse to a random stranger at the mall is not ok. He is not security and you’re not in Israel.
- We as Israelis have no idea what it’s like to live as a minority.
- About #5— I have so much to learn. Yay!
- Missing home comes in waves. Big flooding waves, much stronger and more forceful than I could have ever imagined. It is hard, but each time these waves wash me over, I get better at swimming.
- Riding a bike is awesome! And even though you have those “spandex bike shorts,” it hurts. A LOT.
- Being nervous is ok. I haven’t experienced real nervousness in so long, it feels so great to overcome it.
- Sometimes, when I stand in front of a crowd, my hands start shaking and I go back to my four-year-old self who cried when someone looked at me. I guess I forgot how shy I really am.
My biggest hope for the coming up year is to meet people and build meaningful relationships and connections with them. Creating a meaningful connection can be accomplished by having a five-minute conversation with an individual or a year-long positive experience together. I believe that a personal, deep connection is one of the most powerful tools and ways to learn—about myself, about the American way of life, about the Jewish-American culture. I hope to impact the way people see Israel through those relationships, to show them Israel through my eyes, and to find a way to bring Israel alive for them, from 6,000 miles away.
Three weeks have already passed, and, clearly, I have so much still to do. Wish me luck!
The Chaverim/Friends of Israel Progam is part of the Jewish Agency for Israel’s Partnership2Gether Program, which is one of over fifty programs and agencies funded in part by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.
The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati: We look at the whole picture, taking into account the diverse needs of the entire community. Together we can do almost anything.
Thanks to you and the help of our partner agencies, Hadas will be here all year, sharing what he knows about Israel and building bridges between our two communities.