Leaving Rockland, My New Home

By Liraz Levi, Community Shaliach

It’s hard to believe, but it’s my time to leave! June is already here and I swear that since Passover the time flew by. Back in September I never thought June would come, it seemed so far away.

In the nine months that I’ve been here I gained so much. First and foremost, I feel like I accomplished a big job, teaching people here about Israel and strengthening ties between Rockland and Israel. Also, for the first time in my life I had to take care of everything: a car, an apartment, buying a full grocery list, doing laundry and many more things. I also had my own office for the first time and my email address became a legitimate contact platform, while before I just used it to get flight tickets. I learned that instead of speaking over the phone you should meet a person face-to-face to discuss important issues, and I learned a lot about the American culture.

But more than anything, I learned there’s a special place called Rockland County, and that this place is amazing. Rockland could’ve easily been for me just a random place where I lived and worked, and an interesting suburb of Manhattan, but the people are the ones who made it different. All the small talks and the big ones, the smiles, the caring, the invitations, the Shabbat meals and being interested in how I’m doing made it a different place – a place that I can proudly call home.

I won’t lie to you, there were some low points when I missed my family too much, when I heard some bad news from Israel or I just felt a bit lonely stuck in my apartment on a cold snowy day. But I guess that’s a normal part of living in a new place.

This is the opportunity and the time to thank you Rockland County for a terrific year that I’ll cherish for life. Words can’t define what you all did for me! I also would like to mention how easy and rewarding it was collaborating with the different agencies as well as with the congregations. I loved our partnerships and programs which allowed me to share “my” Israel with different audiences. And I look forward to a lot more community collaboration in the future.  Yes, I’ll be back for a second year in September!

I’m off to Wisconsin for a couple months, but I can’t wait to see my Rockland family again really soon. Have a great summer!


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