In this age of technology where we all have smart phones, computers and iPads, the world seems small. Everything is right there in the palm of our hand.
At the same time human connection, that one-on-one, ‘look me in the eye’ contact is rarer and not trivial. I felt that working on these human connections between individuals in Cape Town and in Israel is more important than ever, which is why I chose to come here on shlichut.
My name is Michal Ilan and I am the Community and Aliyah Shlicha. I arrived in August with Gilad, my husband, and our two children, Ofir and Lior.
Born and raised in Israel, I did not know much about the Jewish world outside of Israel. Through the youth movements I was involved in, I started learning about the wealth of knowledge and culture in the Jewish world around the globe, and was fascinated by it. But what made me feel truly connected and gave me a sense of belonging to this greater Jewish World, was when I went to a Jewish summer camp in America and had real interactions with people; speaking, debating, laughing and sharing ideas.
Working on human connections and relationships became my passion. I became a group facilitator and a parenting counsellor. I worked with groups of teenagers on their social skills and on how they carry themselves in the world, with women on having a relationship with themselves, with at-risk youth on their relationship with their ‘story’, with families on the relationships within their family and with teachers on how to build healthy, productive relationships with their students.
I spent six years working on a gap-year programme as the director of the community-volunteering department. The international participants on the programme were placed in volunteer assignments with Israelis for three months. They lived in Israeli apartments with Israeli roommates and formed amazing connections with not just the land, but especially the people of Israel.
My hope and aim for my shlichut is to help foster strong and meaningful connections.
I was very excited to learn about the South African partnership (Partnership2Gether) with the Beit Shemesh-Mateh Yehudah region in Israel and about the connections made through school twinning and other joint initiatives. I especially feel privileged to lead the first ever P2G Global Intergenerational Initiative (G2).
This initiative, which will begin in late November, will be an incredible opportunity for grandparents and grandchildren (Grades 6-8) to reconnect, teaching each other through their strengths, sharing and presenting their interests, Jewish Identity and connection to Israel. This programme will run simultaneously in five communities around the world and in our partnership region in Israel. Participants will communicate and present to their counterparts in Israel, Australia and the U.S.
At the end of next year all the participants from around the world will meet in person in Israel for a week long joint programme.
The G2 programme represents the type of energy and connection I hope to bring both professionally and as a family to the Jewish Community in Cape Town.
There are still a few more spots available. Please contact the Israel Centre on firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 286 2130/1 for more information.