The Bond of One People

Ella Haetzni (Provided)

Not long ago I arrived to the U.S. to serve as a shlichah (Israeli emissary) at the Jewish Federation of Howard County. On the flight from Israel, I noticed volunteers from IsraAID, an Israeli humanitarian aid organization that responds to crises around the world. They were on their way to Houston.

At first thought, it seemed strange that people from little Israel were coming to help the huge United States, as it’s usually the other way around. But on second thought, I realized that it wasn’t so weird. Because Israelis have a long, unfortunate history of dealing with terror attacks, we have become experts at handling disasters and dealing with casualties. And our readiness to send aid to the U.S. is a natural outcome of the strong and unique connection between the countries and especially between Israel and the American Jewish community. This connection goes both ways, as it’s obvious that the American Jewish community has always been there for Israel to lean on and trust.

Lately, both the Israeli and the American Jewish communities are changing and dealing separately with many challenges. The big question is how we will still grow together as one Jewish nation and not turn in different directions.

As shlichah, I hope to reinforce this relationship between our communities and bring about a sense of Israel with discussions about culture, lectures, and community events, such as the celebration of Israel’s 70th anniversary. Working with all ages and groups, from kindergarten students to senior citizens, I hope to foster thorough and constructive dialogue, as I too learn from new perspectives about Jewish communal life in the states. Most importantly, I will work to maintain and strengthen our connection as one people.

One might ask, what would inspire a young Israeli to come on the shlichut program? Well, this past year I was a counselor for a pre-army leadership program (which is a gap year for youth after high school). Both Israeli youth and Jewish youth from around the world participate in this program. As a result, I had the opportunity to hear from many kinds of Jews, learning about their interesting culture and the importance of their connection to the Israeli community. My conclusion was the wish to add my own humble effort to this connection, and today, I am grateful for the opportunity to be an emissary here.

Please join us at one of our events this year or reach out to me at I look forward to meeting you in Howard County and continuing to build bonds between us.

Ella Haetzni is the shlichah at the Jewish Federation of Howard County.


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