Meet the Shlichim: Michal and Bentzi Mann

Michal and Bentzi Mann
London, England

Bentzi and Michal Man serve as rabbi and rabbanit of the Mill Hill East Jewish Community and the Jewish Free School Campus in London, England. The couple have been on shlichut for two and a half years.

Michal and Bentzi Mann

Children:
Carmi – 3
Shachar – 2
Lavie – 7 months

Tell us about the community you’re in:
The Mill Hill East Congregation is part of the United Synagogue. It was established a few years ago in an area where there was no Jewish community and we are the first rabbinical couple in the community. The community Baruch Hashem has grown and grown, from two visionary members and a community that meets once in a while and with individual community members, to a state of community that operates every Shabbat, with close to 100 people (pre-Corona era 🙁) and close to 250 members.

During the week, we are operating in the largest Jewish high school outside of Israel (over 2000 students) called the Jewish Free School. At JFS we operate as part of an informal teaching staff and engage in Jewish and Zionist activities around the year circles, shabbatonim, a study group during lunch breaks, trips to Poland and Israel, hospitality on Shabbat and more. In addition, as part of our role at Tribe and UJC, we prepare students for the challenges facing the university in terms of Jewish identity and more, as well as activities that will connect them to their communities.

What did you receive from the Straus-Amiel Educational Emissary Training Progam and the Claudia Cohen Women Educator Institute? 
A lot! Above and beyond the technical aspects of assisting us in finding a suitable shlichut position, the preparation before and the support during the course of our shilchut is helping us so much to succeed. The in-depth knowledge of the  obstacles and the halakhic, moral and educational challenges, along with the tools and knowledge to approach those challenges and the ongoing guidance while dealing with them, are just some of the things we received from the Straus-Amiel and Claudia Cohen institutes. The materials, the regular conferences, the availability, the tips…. and so much more.

What message would you like to impart regarding shlichut?
The challenges facing Diaspora Jewry are enormous. Prepare yourself properly so that you have as many tools as possible to deal with them. At the same time, do not come with a sense of patronage or arrogance. There is so much to learn and appreciate about what Jewish communities do in the Diaspora, as well as an opportunity to be inspired and truly receive so much from so many individuals in the communities. It really is the deepest expression of “lilmod u’lelamed‘ – to teach and also to learn!

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