Goodbye, And Thank You: A Message From Our Israel Emissary

In the coming days, I will be finishing my work for the Jewish Agency for Israel as an emissary in the Kansas City Jewish community. I’ve worked under the umbrella of Jewish Federation to engage our community about the land and the people of Israel. 

I am grateful for the incredible opportunity to work for such an important purpose. I have been honored to create events, build programs, and give lectures and workshops in order to bring the spirit of Israeli to our community. I taught classes, created programs, and visited many of our community’s congregations and organizations. Meeting with the senior citizens, kids, teens, and amazing leadership of Jewish Kansas City was always warm and embracing.

These past 10 months, I’ve gone through the most exciting journey I've ever had. It was challenging and intense, but also educational, fun, and engaging. My work in the community exposed me to a whole new world, with different sets of beliefs, opinions, and perspectives. I got to be a part of a community that is very diverse, but at the same time, incredibly united.

In the last couple of months, we have experienced a new reality, where social distancing and life in quarantine have become the norm. Although I never imagined this ending for my journey in Kansas City, it has been yet another opportunity for me to see another side our strength as a Jewish community.

For me, being a Shaliach is not just a job, it’s more like a lifestyle. It's a 24/7 effort to integrate into a new area and culture. It wasn’t always easy or smooth, but it was always meaningful and rewarding. With the support of my colleagues, volunteers, and friends, we achieved some great Israeli programs and activities.

Before I leave, I hope you will join me for two special events. This Sunday, May 17, Rabbi David Glickman and I will have Hevurta: A Community Conversation on Facebook Live. And on Thursday, May 21, I would love to see you all at my virtual farwell reception, hosted by Jewish Federation.

Thank you, Kansas City Jewish community, for being my second home. I am grateful to be a part of this wonderful community, and I can’t wait to visit you all again when our world returns to normal.

Tal Shabo