Jewish Federation of Madison began its Shlichah program in 2003 to strengthen our community’s connection to Israel and the Israeli people. Shlichim serve as Israel program specialists and share their time between Federation and the UW-Hillel.
Shlichim provide educational programming for the entire Madison area Jewish community, and also serve as advocates for Israel within both the Jewish and broader community. They typically teach at Gan HaYeled, Chug Ivrit and Midrasha, and provide programming during the summer at Camp Shalom.
Three of Madison's shlichim have earned well-deserved recognition for their work here. Our first Shlichah, Shirin Ezekiel, received the JDC’s Ralph Goldman Fellowship, often referred to as the most prestigious post-graduate fellowship in Jewish communal work. Diklah Cohen (2005-2007) and Nilli Glick (2008-2010) were named JAFI’s outstanding Shaliach for their work in Madison.
As of August 2012, Yehonatan and Eden Hazani Zion are Madison's shlichim.
Yehonatan will serve as the Jewish Federation of Madison’s full-time Community Shaliach working in the Jewish community in a variety of roles through the Hilde L. Mosse Gan HaYeled Preschool, Midrasha Hebrew High School, Jewish Federation’s Community Relations Committee, congregations’ religious schools, Madison Jewish Community Day School and more. He will also become a resource to the general community for Israel programming and information.
Yehonatan is currently a teacher of Educational Games for Development of Strategic Thinking in the Jerusalem Primary Schools through the Karev Program of Educational Involvement. In this role, he works with children from various elementary schools in Jerusalem, ages six through twelve, including some with special needs. Established by Charles and the late Andrea Bronfman, the Karev program is a real partnership between Israel’s Ministry of Education, the cities and towns of Israel, Israeli parents and the Bronfman Foundation. The largest educational intervention program in Israel today, it identifies education as the key to overcoming socio-economic disparity and the path to equal opportunity in Israel. Additionally, he taught Jewish studies and wrote curriculum, working with 6th graders at the Maimon School in Jerusalem.
“My wife, Eden, and I both look forward to sharing Israeli culture with the entire community (adults, students, teenagers and children) in a fun and engaging way,” said Yehonatan. “We hope to create and encourage an atmosphere of open and honest dialog where Israel is concerned where everyone is welcome to share their experiences and opinions.”
Eden will serve as the full-time Israel fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Hillel. Eden has a strong background in advocacy. She currently directs an advocacy project which educates Israel Knesset members on issues surrounding human trafficking. As a volunteer, Eden serves as a coordinator for the Kolech Project. Kolech, known in English as the Religious Women's Forum, is the first Orthodox Jewish feminist organization in Israel. Supported by the New Israel Fund/SHATIL program, Kolech seeks to disseminate the values of gender equality and mutual respect and encourage equal opportunities for women in the public arena, including the advancement of women's rights and women’s leadership in religious and halachic (Jewish legal) spheres. She also volunteers for the Rape Crisis Center in Jerusalem as a workshop coordinator and instructor for high school students. Most recently, she participated in HAMSA (Heroes are Made Through Service and Action), a program funded by the UJA-Federation of New York. The program brings together twenty graduating high school seniors and college age students from American and Israeli, Jewish and Muslim backgrounds together in the spirit of goodwill to participate in a series of educational classes, as well as a trip to Israel to complete a community service project together. Eden’s father, Noam Zion, authored two American Haggadot, A Different Night and A Night to Remember.
The Jewish Agency, an overseas beneficiary of the Jewish Federation of Madison, recruits and trains dynamic young and talented shlichim (emissaries) from Israel for educational placement in Jewish communities, and college campuses around the world as Areivim. This term comes from the Hebrew saying, "Kol Yisrael areivim zeh bezeh" - all Jews are mutually responsible for each other - and these highly motivated young educators from Israel are imbued with a sense of responsibility towards Jewish communities in the Diaspora. These shlichim are committed to strengthening Jewish identity and creating a connection between Diaspora Jewry and the State of Israel.