Emissary From Israel Offers Wide Range of Workshops for Community Members

Among the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s employees is a staff member with a unique title and mission: the Shaliach, an emissary from Israel who serves as a resource for the people, educators and organizations of Greater Philadelphia.

The Jewish Federation’s new Shaliach is Mark Raoul Molnar, who has more than five years of experience working with the American Jewish community. He has a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science and human resources and a master’s degree in American Jewish history. After serving in the Israel Defense Forces for three years, Molnar became an Israeli counselor at a Jewish day camp in northern New Jersey. He then returned to the U.S. as a Shaliach for the Jewish Federation of Greater Chattanooga, working closely with synagogues and Jewish and non-Jewish organizations on Israel engagement and community engagement. Upon returning to Israel, Molnar worked at an international overnight Jewish summer camp. For the three years prior to coming to Philadelphia, he served as director of the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows program, supervising young American Jewish adults teaching in Israel.

“There is already a strong connection between Jews in Israel and the U.S.,” said Molnar. “I am here to maintain this connection, this bridge, stronger, wider and better through education.”

Molnar is committed to building personal relationships with people and groups throughout the region. He is also connecting local young adults to high-impact Israel engagement programs like Birthright Israel, Masa Israel and Onward Israel. Through his work as the Shaliach, Molnar is especially focused on strengthening the Jewish Federation’s Partnership2Gether community in Israel of Netivot and Sedot Negev.

Molnar is available to provide —  at no cost — Israel-focused programs, workshops and talks, as well as brainstorming sessions on how to increase Israel and community engagement. Following is a list of possible Israel-themed workshops available. If you don’t see a program that meets your needs, you can work with Molnar to customize a program on virtually any Israel-themed topic.

Waves of Culture

How did each wave of immigration to Israel affect the culture and society, and how did Israel treat each new group of immigrants? Is Israeli culture a “melting pot” or a “salad bowl”? Let’s discuss.

Culture Through Commercials 

Screen 30 to 40 Israeli TV commercials and examine what can be learned about Israeli society just from commercials.

Rabin, Oslo and the Gap in Society 

Examine the Oslo agreement that led to Rabin’s assassination and how the gap in Israeli society became a breaking point. Learn about Rabin’s legacy and what happened to that gap in Israel.

Israeli Politics 

What is the structure of Israel’s government? Learn about the different parties, what they stand for and the current domestic and international issues.

Separation of State and Synagogue?

Discuss the challenges and values of the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Learn about the authority of the Rabbinical Court, the conflict regarding who is recognized as a Jew, and the relationships between the state and the different streams of Judaism.

Stepping Into an Israeli Soldier’s Shoes 

Discuss different dilemmas that soldiers in Israel handle day by day, and explore the lives and experiences of different soldiers before and after entering the army.

Israeli Startups

Learn about all the innovations that came from Israel, and how Israel became known as the “Start-Up Nation.”

Refugees vs. “Infiltrators”

Learn about asylum seekers in Israel today, how this issue has become a hot topic in Israeli society, and the situation’s challenges and current status.

Movies (separately or as a series)

Summertime Blues — what goes in the minds of high school students before joining the army; A Borrowed Identity (original title: Dancing Arabs) — a discussion of Israeli Arabs in Israel; Bethlehem — how Israel’s secret intelligence works.


There are many other kinds of programs Molnar can do for the community. Please contact him at shaliach@jewishphilly.org.


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