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My Calling

Shy Ashkenazi on Tuesday, September 10, 2019

"Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you(Genesis 12, 1)

לֶךְ-לְךָ מֵאַרְצְךָ וּמִמּוֹלַדְתְּךָ וּמִבֵּית אָבִיךָ, אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר אַרְאֶךָּ (בראשית י"ב, א')

A calling that a person receives to go and accomplish themselves in a new place is a strong call for action.

No, I am not a father of a nation like Abraham, and I did not receive a call from God telling me I should pack myself and fly across the world for a few years. But I did have a strong inner voice telling me I should. And all that was left was putting it into action.

Being a Shaliach, an emissary, is something that I have been doing for my entire adult life, having it as an official title of what I do (a summer camp Shaliach for 13 years), or as a concept of the everyday choices I make in my line of work and in my personal life.

So, I listened to that inner voice – I packed my apartment in which I’d lived for three years, figuring out what I can get rid of (a great opportunity to do some intense cleaning), what I want to take with me and what is to be stored until I get back to Israel; I had a few crazy weeks of seeing friends and saying goodbyes in different parts of the country (and still so many I didn’t get to see before I left);I had to  decide if I only take one guitar with me or more (only one made the cut, but I love them all); I spent time with my family, hugging my 3 lovely nieces, my brother, sisters, and parents; I packed my suitcase, my backpack with my laptop, chargers, a book for the flight, and with my great treasure – a binder holding all of my lyrics – I came here, to Fairfax, Virginia, to be the Jewish Agency Shaliach at the Pozez JCC of Northern Virginia.

What a long title!

But I do not believe in titles. I believe in the meaning and תכלס -Tachles (purpose) of what I do. I believe in the actions that give life to the meaning. And for me, the Tachles is all about the people, connections, and interactions. How do I make a change in peoples’ lives? I have always hoped to do so, through my music and through education. And a change could be small. Tiny. Yet significant.

Since I arrived, a little over two weeks ago, I have been working to create these relationships, connections, may they be professional partnerships or personal friendships. Meals, meetings, laughs, discussions, handshakes, smiles, small talks, big talks… All amazing experiences that keep coming my way to meet and get to know this community. My (new) community.

There’s still a long way to go on this never-ending journey to connect with people, but that is what I am here to do. People to People. In the Jewish world, some might call it Peoplehood. I am only one, trying to collect connections one by one, to create my piece of it.


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Shy, what a great article and so glad you are back doing what you do so well. Fairfax is lucky to have you. Stay well til we meet again. Love you, Andi
Posted by: Andi Abrams on September 18, 2019 at 8:25:36 am

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