“Meet the Shluchim,” a popular weekly profile published by the Shluchim Office which offers a rare inside view into the lives of shluchim and shluchos, has reached over 40 profiles in less than a year.
Seeing so many Shluchim come through the doors at the Shluchim office made the staff think about how lucky they are to be able to meet incredible individuals from all over the world.
Imagine if the shluchim could be introduced to the greater Jewish community at large, people that wouldn’t necessarily ever have the opportunity to meet the Shluchim in Hong Kong, Melbourne or even Montana? What if we could allow people to get to know the Shluchim – not by the programs that they do, or the community centers that they build – but as people; to make people feel and understand a Shliach or Shlucha – as a mother, wife, leader, teacher and chossid.
And so “Meet the Shluchim” was born. Featuring shluchim from all corners of the world, it provides a unique view into the thoughts and reflections of people who are usually so focused on those around them.
For some, their shlichus is the fulfillment of a childhood dream. But others still sound surprised of where they ended up. “We’ve been on Shlichus in Cambodia for just over six years,” said Mrs. Mashie Butman. “I never imagined that we would be living out here. It’s certainly nothing I dreamed of when I was growing up! But Hashem placed us here and knew that it would be the best place for us.”
The challenges that come up on shlichus are as diverse and unique as the places themselves – whether it’s dealing with a tiny community, a foreign culture, or distracted students – but perhaps one of the most universal – and difficult – challenges of them all is learning to raise a family in these circumstances. In the profiles, many of the shluchim and shluchos share some of their hard-earned insight.
“I strongly believe, that success in your Shlichus is greatly dependent on how your family is doing,” said Rabbi Shimon Pelman, Shliach to the Dominican Republic. “We are very connected to our kids. And because they learn in the Nigri International Shluchim Online School, we are able to eat lunch together as a family every day, where we take the opportunity to hear what they learned in school that day. My children keep me inspired.”
“I have a two-year-old daughter, and she loves that we have people over for Shabbat meals,” said Esther Leah Teldon, Shlucha to Wilmette, IL. “One week, it was extremely busy and we decided to take it easy that Friday night and have a meal with just the family. When we gathered around the table for Kiddush, my daughter said, ‘Wait, we can’t start the meal yet! We don’t have any guests!’ It’s so amazing to see my children embrace our shlichus as well.”
“So many times in life, you go into a scenario thinking one thing and the outcome isn’t what you predicted,” said Mrs. Shevy Vigler, Shlucha to the Chabad Israel Center of the Upper East Side. “Running our preschool, a Shabbat dinner with 500 people, programs for young professionals, Adult education, our shul and family events – there are always surprises that come up along the way. Overall, Shlichus has taught me to embrace the unexpected and realize that when you’re involved in good things– there’s a higher power pulling everything together, making it all turn out for the best.”
“It’s easy to get caught up in your own world and think that what you’re doing is so very hard,” Mrs. Dini Freundlich, Shlucha to Beijing, China said. “But if you stop and think, there’s 4,000 other Shluchim doing the exact same thing. It’s happening all over the world, and there’s a strength in numbers. The collective effort really helps change your perspective.”
“It’s an incredible opportunity,” says Ms. Rachel Weingrow of the Shluchim Office, “to speak to these individuals directly and gain inspiration and insight on what their day to day lives are like, the happy times, the challenges, successes and what keeps them going. I personally gained and continue to gain so much from this project. I hope that our readers and followers have as well.”
To see more, go to facebook.com/TheShluchimOffice