Parents’ Night – A Reassuring Peek Into Life on Shlichut
“And thank you to my parents for bringing me this far…” is the ending of many a bar and bat mitzva speech. The Beren-Amiel and Straus-Amiel Emmisary Training Institutes took the sentiment a step further this month as they hosted the annual Parents’ Night for the families of those currently training to perform shlichut in the Diaspora.
“Of course I’m proud of my daughter and son-in-law for their dedication to Am Yisrael,” shared one of the parents who attended. “But it’s so hard to know that they will be going so far away. How will they manage? How will the kids adjust? I hate that I’ll be missing out on my grandchildren’s formative years,” he admitted.
The evening provided a peek into the world of shlichut with the goal of allaying the parents’ fears by sharing the curriculum and development path of the students and reminding them that the Beren-Amiel and Straus-Amiel staff remains with them every step of the way during the course of their emissary work.
The parents met Ohr Torah Stone President and Rosh HaYeshiva Rabbi Brander who explained that Sefer Vayikra is not only about holiness itself, but also about the spreading of that holiness through action. Beren-Amiel and Straus-Amiel director Rabbi Eliahu Birnbaum spoke about the dire situation facing Jewish communities and the need to reach Jews of all kinds – especially the unaffiliated.
The evening’s main address was given by Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, who spoke about the dichotomy between the inclusion of all of Am Yisrael while balancing a sense of the holy – which necessarily requires exclusion. Rabbi Cherlow emphasized the need for inclusion, which he views as the role of our shlichim. But at the same time, he strengthened both parents and students by reminding us that shlichut is a fruitful two-way process that enriches not only Diaspora Jews, but also the lives of the shlichim and their families.
The evening concluded with a panel discussion amongst the institutes’ staff on the challenges of maintaining familial relationships from a distance. Not only was it a chance for the parents to get to know the various members of the team, but it also providing the parents with an opportunity to ask questions and share with them how to best support the shlichim during their years abroad.