For new Israeli emissary, America is a classroom and sports is a passion

You might say the new shaliach has come to America because, for his family, he wanted to try a whole different ballgame.

Uria Roth, an enthused sports fan, arrived in August of 2019 to serve as an emissary from Israel. The sabra, or native-born Israeli, will be here connecting with community and assisting Milwaukee Jewish Federation with assorted projects, for 2-3 years. The program is a collaboration of the Federation and the Jewish Agency for Israel.

New Shaliach Uria Roth and his wife Moria Leheman with their children Nadav, 10; Ronnie, 7; and Yuval, 4, from right to left.

Uria has come with his whole family. Wife Moria Leheman is teaching at Milwaukee Jewish Day School. Children Nadav, 10; Ronnie, 7; and Yuval, 4, are here to learn some English.

How to go
What: Sukkot Open House: Meet the new community shaliach
When: Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, 4-6 p.m.
Where: At the Shlichut House. RSVP for address.
Cost: Free.

More info: MilwuakeeJewish.org/IsraelinMilwaukee or Allison Hayden at AllisonH@MilwaukeeJewish.org or 414-390-5724.

“The truth is a week in school here is worth three months in Israel,” Uria said, referring to learning English. He purposely didn’t send the children for English training before coming here; he wanted them to have a normal life in Israel beforehand.

The children, in fact, are part of why he’s come – for the immersion in English. “They’ll get the American Jewish culture and the English, the language,” he said.

Uria has spent most of his life in Israel, but he did serve as a shaliach in western U.S. communities from 2010-2013. That, too, was a family project. “They were really young, really toddlers,” Uria recalled. “We always said that we wanted another American experience as a family.”

It’s not just language he wants for the kids. He wants them to take in some American Jewish culture.

“For American Jewry there’s something about the sense of togetherness as a community,” he said. In America, you learn to appreciate your Jewish identity in a different way, he said.

Uria consumes sports. He’s already gone to a Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers game in Chicago. He’s a Los Angeles Dodgers fan and a Katamon fan – that’s an Israeli soccer team. He’s a big fan of European football, too.

He’s attending lots of events in the Milwaukee area, looking to meet people.

“I really want to know the people,” he said.