Todah Rabah for a Wonderful Year

So this is it for the year! I’m on the next flight to Israel…but not to worry, I’ll be back before you know it!

How can I summarize this whole year? How can I explain what I have been through – for better or worse, emotionally and all? How can I explain what it’s like to be on my own in a foreign country? To visit Hebrew schools for the first time, not knowing what they will think about me? Or the terrifying first moments of my first lectures and lunch & learns in Rockland?

 I had many challenges, that’s for sure. But my time here was filled with much fun and love. It’s amazing how I can fall in love with a whole community in ten months – I mean really, really fall in love! Being a Shlicha is a big risk. It’s committing to a place you’ve never seen before, with a language that isn’t your main one. It’s leaving everything you know and love behind and taking a chance with people that might not even like you. Before I left Israel, I was so scared of being on my own!

 During my first few months in the US, Iocked myself out of my house, got my car towed on my first night in Manhattan, sprayed pepper spray in my face, broke a key in the door, waited in my car for 15 minutes for a deer to move out of my way, broke 2 glasses, said “let’s kiss” instead of “let’s talk” in front of a crowded room, and made my white sweater and socks pinkish in the wash. I even forgot I had a really good winter coat until the last two months of winter. You can imagine!

Each “first” was scary and overwhelming, and I couldn’t have gotten through them all without YOU.

To all the Hebrew schools I set foot in, know that I’m honored that you allowed me to be a part of your education. To the great teachers and principals, thank you for giving me the freedom to talk Israel my own way, and for helping me find that way.

To each and every Rabbi, for welcoming me into your synagogues and to teach lunch & learns, Shabbatons, youth groups meetings, etc.

To the JCC, my home away from home, and the amazing staff who became my best friends.

To everyone at RJA who made me fall in love with their kids every day and allowed me to be a part of the great learning process of Hebrew.

To Hillel at RCC who showed me that we have younger crowds in Rockland too! And Rabbi Dov Oliver and Shevy for making sure I got to know them well, at school and at their home.

And to the amazing Jewish Federation of Rockland County, for taking the biggest chance, for picking me out of the rest, for
sponsoring every single thing I do here and for always having patience for my colorful clothes and crazy talks. Although we are a small staff, you have the biggest space in my heart.

To all of you I say TODAH RABAH, thank you so much.

And on a special note I would like to thank Harriet Spevack and Melinda Levin for helping me with ideas, supporting me every step of the way, arguing with me when needed and checking up on me even when not needed, and for being my family around here. I know I’m only gone for the summer, but it became hard to leave even for that, because Rockland is my home too. Honestly? I can’t wait to be back here again and starting in the Fall! Please make sure to follow my Facebook page and my Blog that will be online soon – that way we can keep in touch and when I come back, it will be as if I never left!

— Timna Mekaiten,
Community Shlicha
Jewish Federation of Rockland County


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