“Emily in Paris” is much like Ophir in New York

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Today I won’t write about the lockdown, nor will I elaborate on the mass protest, which is taking place against the Israeli government.

Instead, I’d like to embrace the spirit of escapism by cherishing a TV show that celebrates the life we all used to have pre-COVID-19: Emily in Paris. (Pronounced Emil-ee in Pa-ree)

Set in 2019 Paris, France, the comedy-drama Emily in Paris depicts the fictional story of Emily Cooper, a millennial Social Media Manager who’s relocating from Chicago to work in a boutique marketing agency in Paris and struggling to adjust to the local Parisian culture and its delicate nuances.

While I was binge-watching Emily in Paris, I noticed there is a strong resemblance between her immigration story and my former experience as your Israeli Shaliach.

To begin with, both Emily and I were hired to the job thanks to our cultural specialty. While Emily’s French colleagues constantly described her as “The American in residence” or as “Someone who’ll bring anAmerican approach to our marketing Strategy,” I was often referred to by my colleagues as “Our Israeli Shaliach/Emissary” who will bring an Israeli approach into the 14th Street Y.

Both Emily and I were driven to initiate new projects at a fast pace, an attitude that needed to be balanced with proper planning and modified according to the needs of the local setting.

Yet the most significant similarity between us both is our shared ability to mix well in an ever-changing environment. As Emily wasn’t afraid to change her mundane setting from freezing Chicago to fashion-obsessed Paris, so I was keen to replace old school Jerusalem with fast-paced, FOMO-oriented New York City.

Watching Emily in Paris has enabled me to reflect on the process I went through as your Israeli Shaliach and acknowledge I’m capable of coping with uncertainty and stress.

Lastly, I’d like to convey a powerful message of personal empowerment and change by emphasizing the perspective the shlichut and Emily in Paris has given me. I was able to form bonds, friendships, and a following in a foreign cultural setting, and Emily did the same while being a real beginner when it comes to speaking French.

If Emily, a fictional character, and I, an actual person, can achieve this, then you too can revolutionize your own life, even when a deadly pandemic is still around.

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