Fifty Emissaries Prepare to Strengthen the Connection with Jewish Communities all over the World
Channel 20 News | 12 September, 2019
The new year started this week for more than 50 students preparing to become emissaries in Jewish communities throughout the Diaspora. Ohr Torah Stone runs four different programs for these emissaries who, upon completion of their training, will go serve in Jewish communities to build a spiritual bridge between the Jews living in the State of Israel and those living in the Diaspora. They will provide guidance on halakhic issues, teach Hebrew and serve as spiritual leaders for Diaspora Jewry.
OTS offers four different training tracks: “Straus-Amiel” provides practical rabbinic training for the Diaspora; “Beren-Amiel” trains educational emissaries; “Claudia Cohen Educators Instite” for the female spouse of each emissary couple; and “Maarava,” specially designed for rabbinical emissaries going to Sephardic communities worldwide. In all the training tracks, the students learn a variety of topics – halakha, practical rabbinics, outreach and education. They also acquire practical tools such as rhetoric, engagement techniques, social media, marketing, fundraising and voice training.
Among the more than 50 future emissaries there are 24 married couples and three unmarried students from all over Israel who meet once a week for an evening of learning. Says Dani Appel, director of recruitment and liaison with the emissaries: “Our aim is to send the emissaries to Jewish communities in the Diaspora and to strengthen the Jewish identity of those living there.”
Speaking at the opening ceremony for the new year, Rabbi Eliahu Birnbaum, Director of the Straus-Amiel and Beren-Amiel programs, explained the halakhic dilemmas facing emissaries in the Diaspora. Other speakers at the festive event included: Rabbanit Renana Birnbaum, director of the Claudia Cohen institute; Rabbi Yehoshua Grunstein, Director of Training and Placement; Rabbi Benjy Myers, Educational Director; Rabbi Aviad Pituchei-Chotam, responsible for the placement of returning emissaries; and Yehuda Shtauber, OTS Vice President of Education.