November 4, 2016

Hello from the Rishonim!

Roni Belkin

My name is Roni Belkin. I’m 18 years old, and I’m from Ra’anana, Israel. This year, I’m one of the rishonim – young Israeli emissaries – at GOA.
Generally, rishonim come to this community from Arad, Rishon Le’Zion, Ra’anana, Ofakim, Merhavim, Horfesh and Kibutz Erez- all different cities in Israel that have partnerships with the Jewish community here of Greater Metrowest.
Being a part of the rishonim program entails volunteering in Jewish schools, synagogues and youth movements all over the Jewish community, running educational activities about Israel and Judaism.
For me, being a rishona is about bonding and creating relationships but most importantly taking advantage of the opportunities that come my way. During my friends’ and my work here, we meet many, many people: host families, teachers, rabbis, educational staff and mostly a lot of kids of all different ages, ranging from gan (kindergarten) to seniors in high school.
Previous rishonim who were in this community told us that the biggest tip that they could give us was that in the end, this experience is all about the people and the connections that you make.
After being here for over a month, I’m already starting to understand what they were talking about: It’s so amazing seeing how everyone here treats us so well and how people make us feel at home in a place that is half a world away. My friends and I can’t wait – and actually have already started – to create those relationships, to create an influence and to enjoy the amazing opportunity that was given to us.
It’s only the beginning- but it’s already so amazing! I’m looking forward to the rest of the year!

Roni Belkin is serving as a rishona this year in the Greater Metrowest community. In this capacity, she and the six other emissaries spend time volunteering and working with students in a range of Jewish and non-Jewish institutions to educate them about Israel.

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