Smiles better - the Leeds emissary who captured hearts


When Leeds Makor chairman Stanley Cundle interviewed the seven candidates for community shaliach in 2009, Gilad Amit impressed him with his “charisma, beautiful smile and sense of humour. And when he finally came to Leeds, everyone instantly fell in love with him.”

There was also, naturally, an inspiring passion about Israel, Mr Cundle told the farewell reception for Mr Amit — winner of the Jewish Agency Shaliach of Excellence Award in 2011 — and the gift of “getting the community behind him in everything he set out to do. He’s been like a breath of fresh air.”

Holocaust Survivors Friendship Association chair Lilian Black complimented Mr Amit on “an amazing job” in Shoah education, particularly at Leeds civic events. “He engaged admirably with other faith groups across the wider community in quite challenging circumstances, never backing off in dialogue or discussion.”

Mr Amit paid tribute to the spirit and energy of the Leeds community and praised the Makor cultural resource centre. “It’s a tiny space with a massive purpose, a hive of activity staffed by people who are superb at their jobs. Wings can either be clipped or left alone but at Makor wings are left intact — and that enabled me to fly.”

He was presented with an iPad and a book of messages and photos compiled by the community. His replacement, Or Nehushtan, arrives in October.

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