Or Nehushtan — his first name means “light” in Hebrew — promises to bring luminosity to his role as Leeds’s new emissary.
The 29-year-old twin — he has a sister, Zohar — who arrived from Hod Hasharon, near Ra’anana, described his Leeds welcome as “more than I could ever have wished for” as he settled in at the Makor office where he is based
He has a political science and psychology degree from Ben Gurion University and gained experience of working with teenagers at youth movement HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed as an instructor, prior to serving in the military as a combat infantry sergeant.
He is keen to understand how the community perceives his birth country and has met youth leaders hoping to broaden horizons and leave his own imprint. “I know this has been done before but possibly I can do it on a larger scale and hope to bring my own personality to the job and work to the best of my capabilities,” he said.
His recently awarded MBA in social leadership, through the Mandel Foundation in Jerusalem, gives him managerial skills that he feels will “have a major influence on my shlichut — something I can contribute personally”.
An accomplished guitarist who likes poetry, he is keen to chip in culturally. Interfaith is a project that interests him and he hopes for a wider community correlation.
“I’m optimistic about tackling the challenges ahead and, judging by the friendly reception, I know I will have the Leeds community firmly behind me.”
Helen Frais, Makor’s cultural director, said: “Or has settled in well. He’s already very popular with a lot of people in the community.”
The emissary post is funded by the Jewish Agency in Israel, Makor and UJIA. Mr Nehushtan replaces Gilad Amit, who returned to Israel after four years in Leeds.