Meet Manchester’s newest Shlicha Or Elizabeth Ribon.
Nice to meet you Or! Tell JLife readers a little about yourself?
Hi to everyone in Manchester! My name is Or Elizabeth Ribon and I am the new UJIA Shlicha (emissary). In case you don’t know – “Or” in Hebrew means “light”, maybe it will be useful when it’s too cloudy in Manchester!
I’m 24 years old, I was born in Haifa and grew up in a small Moshav in the Galilee named Yaad (in Hebrew this means destination).
I have two amazing parents – Noam and Sari, and two incredible sisters – Shir and Hila.
So what drew you to this position in Manchester?
When I enlisted to the IDF, I was a Commander in basic training for soldiers who made Aliya, in a special base where they prepare for their army service and study Hebrew. I got to know Jewish people from all over the world (including from Manchester!) that came from many different places and communities, and it opened a whole new world for me!
Since then, I continued working in different programmes with Jewish youth and young adults from all over the world and my curiosity grew. I decided to go on Shlichut to learn more about Israel, Am Yisrael, and my own place in it, as well as to take an active part in strengthening those connections – and the community in Manchester seems like the perfect place to do that.
How are you feeling about the move?
I’m so excited! Obviously, leaving home, my family and friends is not easy, but I’m ready and can’t wait for mine, and our mutual adventure to begin. I’ve heard the most amazing things about the community from Sara, the previous Shlicha, and I’m looking forward to meeting all of you, getting to know you and to find my place in the community, to gain a better understanding of what it’s like to be a part of a Jewish community across the sea. I can’t wait to start working and exploring our human connection together, the ancient connection we share as part of the Jewish people, connection that is both by birth and choice.
What do you have lined up to help Manchester engage with Israel?
I have my dreams and ideas, but first of all I think I need to get to know the community, what are the things that are important to all of you, what excites you, and together, learn the needs and interests of the community.
What part of Israel would you like to bring to us?
In the past few years, I got to experience so many different places and to live near and with amazing people from all over Israel. I lived in the south of Israel, near the Gaza Strip, in a kibbutz on the border with Lebanon, in Tel Aviv, and I can keep going… I’m bringing my own unique mixture of family history and values, places, people, and experiences, and a young, caring, acting and modern Zionist side of Israel – that faces forward – to our future.
Finally, tell us about your interests you can share with the community?
I love hiking, and it’s been a while since I last travelled outside of Israel, so I’m really looking forward to that. I read a lot of books, and I’m also very into Hebrew poetry. I love cooking, listening to music and singing (although, I can’t say singing loves me)! I would love to share those things with the community soon, after all – it’s well known that nothing brings people together like music and food!