A Beginning of a New Journey


Yoni Rechter & Ali Mohar – Cheerful Prophetic Cosmic Song | יוני רכטר ועלי מוהר – שיר נבואי קוסמי עליז

What Am I Leaving Behind?

Jerusalem, The french hill neighborhood. The time: around 16:00 PM, and a cold and powerful chill is stirring everything in its way. I’m sitting on the 4th floor rooftop, one that I just recently discovered. I’m drinking the local brand of coffee, Cafe Elit, to warm myself.

As I am writing these words on my rooftop, and a cold Jerusalem chill is blowing on me, memories of the decisive event that lead me to embark on my journey to the 14th Street Y begin to emerge.

It was a warm evening in October 2017. Only a month has passed since I returned from my long trip of self discovery in the US, a trip in which I covered 12 states and also volunteered as a facilitator for Seeds of Peace, an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue teen camp in the US. This unforgettable experience brought me to question my identity. Are we born Jewish or do we choose it? And if we do, how can we use this choice in changing the world for the better? These questions have paved the road for an answer that will only invite further wonderings: becoming the Shaliach—emissary in this downtown NYC community.

In order to do that, I needed to send an application to the Jewish Agency, yet mysteriously my percentage of battery power on my phone became dangerously low. I thought of giving up, mainly because the notion of leaving my friends and family again, and this time for a much longer period, frightened me. But then, when my phone was about to meet its maker the chorus from a beloved Israeli song, “Cheerful Prophetic Cosmic Song” by Yoni Rechter and Ali Mohar, calmed me down and helped me arrange my thoughts.

It basically told me:

“Walk sincere, do it on your own. Don’t be afraid and don’t be mad. Go with innocence, and go as one.”

I rushed to the charger to save my phone’s life, and sent the application for the emissary position. This resulted in me being accepted as your Shaliach. As such, I want to introduce to you my heart and soul, the artistic and intellectual, my many sides of Israel. One of my friends whom I am leaving behind, Golan, who’s the philosopher of the group, told me:

“It doesn’t matter if we won’t talk for a month or a year. Always keep a pen with you, write yourself up and you will always be in my heart.”

I hope you and I will be able to tell and hear stories together, and create our own unique road, together.

Or like the song says:

“Don’t Intend, just let yourself walk

All the calculations will be resolved on their own

Like the resurrected tree that emerges from the fall

Something inside of you will tell you–

Go on, in your road.”


“In his role as Shaliach, Ophir will spend the next few months getting to know the 14th Street Y community and the Downtown Jewish Life partners. He will begin by creating encounters and events that will offer us a taste of Israel in New York City, and provide a platform for dialogue and discussion that highlights a wider context as citizens of the world—one in which we think and grow together. In return, Ophir will also learn about and meet the rich and diverse downtown Jewish community and bring these experiences back with him to Israel.

Each one of us has a unique story. I hope you will come to meet Ophir and share yours with him. In the next two months, he will be joining us at community breakfasts, Sukkot activities, and is excited to meet our community members over coffee.”

— Ronit Muszkatblit, Director of Arts + Culture, Artistic Director of LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture, shares her excitement in welcoming Ophir to our 14Y community on Wednesday, August 15, and how reminiscent his journey to America is to her own 20 years ago.

Read Ronit’s full blog: Bridging Two Different Worlds

What is a shaliach?

A community shaliach is an educational emissary from Israel who works with Jewish organizations, JCCs, synagogues, summer camps and schools. The shaliach is responsible for deepening the connection of the community to Israel by means of informal education such as workshops, public events and initiatives. The shaliach’s aim is also to bring the values and content he absorbed in the community back to Israeli society.