PROVIDENCE – The Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island is inviting the community to say farewell to our outgoing Israeli shlichah (emissary), and to welcome our incoming shaliach, at a party on Aug. 25.
Shlichah Or Cohen is returning to Israel after two years of commitment and service to our community, and while her work coincided with the pandemic, it did not stop her from having a great impact. Cohen conducted many virtual and in-person programs for adults, as well as children’s programs for schools and the entire community online.
Cohen was also a valuable member of the J-Camp staff, and, pre-pandemic, her after-school programs at J-Space, in the Alliance’s Dwares Jewish Community Center, were very popular. She
also managed to maintain a small in-person group that met at the University of Rhode Island Hillel during much of the pandemic.
Not including everyone she reached virtually (but certainly not discounting them), Cohen met with over 1,000 individuals in person during her time in Rhode Island. Her program for Israel’s Memorial Day in 2020 attracted nearly 300 virtual participants alone!
During her time in R.I., Cohen’s footprint quickly moved nationwide. Pre-pandemic, she talked about her own story for the New Hampshire Jewish Federation and for Northeastern University Hillel. During the pandemic, a score of communities had her share her story via Zoom.
Pre-pandemic, Isaac Herzog, then chairman of the Jewish Agency, promised Cohen he would visit Rhode Island, and he kept his promise, visiting Touro Synagogue and meeting with Jewish Alliance leaders. Herzog is now the president of Israel.
For her local Zoom programs, Cohen brought in many Israeli guest presenters, who did everything from conducting an Israeli whiskey-tasting to telling the background stories behind some films on Netflix and HBO Max. She also created Israel activity boxes that served as models for other communities where people were isolating at home.
The Alliance extends its sincere thanks to Cohen for all she has taught us.
Amit Moshe Oren, 24, of Rishon LeZion, Israel, will become our community shaliach at the end of August. In addition to training for his new role, he has spent the summer working with a NFTY (Reform Jewish Youth Movement) group traveling in Israel. He previously spent two summers working at URJ Camp Newman, in California. Oren has also volunteered with the elderly and with children in at-risk neighborhoods.
In addition to being a basketball coach and a combat medic, Oren is a published comics writer, letterer and short story author. He enjoys making music and watching movies, and has also done some acting.
The farewell party for Cohen, and the welcome for Oren, will be held from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 25, at the back of the Alliance’s Dwares Jewish Community Center, 401 Elmgrove Ave., Providence. Light summer snacks will be served. For more information, contact Larry Katz at email@example.com or 401-421-4111.
LARRY KATZ (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the director of Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.