Scroll Top

Shlicha Stories

Lior Witlin pix

Welcome to “Shlicha Stories,” featuring weekly insights, perspectives and heartfelt thoughts from Lior Witlin. Lior is Maccabi USA’s Shlicha (“Emissary”) from the Jewish Agency for Israel. Shlichim are sent to communities around the world to provide a living connection to the Jewish State by promoting Israeli experiences, facilitating Jewish social activism, and speaking authentically about faith and culture.

Lior is the former CEO of Maccabi Tzair, Maccabi’s international youth movement, which promotes Jewish heritage, Zionist values, social responsibility, and personal development with an emphasis on sports to connect young Jews worldwide.

“Israel, my dear, how I’ve longed to meet you. How I wanted to travel on your roads and walk on your streets and visit the places I love and buy myself the food I missed so much. You haven’t changed at all, yet you’re an entirely different country.”

May 17, 2024 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

This Sunday, Israel will observe the eve of Memorial Day. I’ve never found, and I don’t think I’ll ever find, the words to say on such a day. Instead, I will share with you a song that has been with me since the first time I heard it as a teenager.”

May 10, 2024 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

In times when antisemitism rears its ugly head, I can’t help but think of my grandparents and all those Holocaust survivors, many of whom are no longer with us to continue telling their stories.

May 3, 2024 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

It worries me greatly to think about all those anti-Israel students who will complete their studies, receive advanced degrees, and continue to engage in antisemitism in the workplaces they will reach.

April 26, 2024 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

The word “freedom” takes on a completely different meaning this upcoming Passover. We are all still captives of October 7th in a certain sense, but we must not cease to believe that the ending of our story can be different.

April 19, 2024 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

God! I am trying to hold on to hope. We are all trying. I pray all the time that everyone’s love reaches you and gives you a little more strength.

April 12, 2024 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

Sometimes it feels like it’s all too much. Sometimes I feel like I can’t be optimistic, find the light, or see the hope.

April 5, 2024 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

In early May, after eight months, I will visit my home. I am so excited. Alongside the excitement, I must admit, I am terrified. What will I find there?

March 29, 2024 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

Throughout history, Israel has faced many dilemmas regarding the issue of prisoner exchanges. In some cases, it has indeed paid a heavy price. But is there a price for the lives of our brothers?

March 22, 2024 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

“As we all know, life doesn’t always go as planned. And on October 7th, life took a sharp turn, both for me and for the topics I would write about.

March 15, 2024 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

They could have been my mother. They could have been my grandmother. They could have been my sister. They could have been my daughter. Or yours.

March 8, 2024 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

Today marks the 147th day since the [hostages] were taken by Hamas. We must not forget them. They need to be in our thoughts every day.

March 1, 2024 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

As time passes, a terrible reality is emerging that leaves no room for doubt: Under cover of the massacre, Hamas terrorists systematically and brutally committed rape and sexual abuse.

February 23, 2024 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

So many families were torn apart, and foremost among them, the families of the hostages, whom I cannot even imagine what they went through yesterday as others marked Family Day.

February 9, 2024 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

Alongside the ongoing terror attacks and incessant bombings of the communities surrounding Gaza, I want to tell you about an annual event that takes place there that is an event of growth and blooming, the complete opposite of terror: The Red South Festival.

February 2, 2024 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

Today, Israel is facing one hell of a test. A test of unity. A test of a people that until now has been divided, distant, and disintegrated. People who are now required to unite. Israel is now fighting with all her forces and losing many heroes along the way.

January 27, 2024 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

“Happy Birthday, Kfir Bibas! What do we wish you for your 1st birthday? To come home.”

January 20, 2024 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

I wake up in the morning every day during the past 100 days and ask myself how can this be? When did the world become so crazy that this is our reality?

January 13, 2024 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

Like every Israeli, we have close friends who were killed or kidnapped on that black Shabbat. One of them is Alon Shimriz.

December 22, 2023 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

I’m out of words. This has been the toughest and most painful Hanukkah I’ve ever celebrated in my life. It was a Hanukkah where over 20 soldiers fell in battles, just in the past week.”

December 15, 2023 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

“Mothers who have sent their sons to fight in Gaza have no day and no night, and certainly not a routine. The families of the hostages? For them, there has been no routine for two months; time has truly stopped for them. They cannot return to routine. So why do we?”

December 8, 2023 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

No Jewish or Israeli person on this planet could remain apathetic to the images and videos of those returning from captivity. The recent days have taught us how joy looks when intertwined with great sorrow.

December 1, 2023 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

October has turned into November, and beneath the ground in Gaza, there are still more than 200 Israeli hostages.

November 17, 2023 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

I’m watching this video again and again and I still can’t believe it happened in my country. My brothers and sisters, my teens from Maccabi Tzair, young people, their whole lives ahead of them.

November 10, 2023 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

Over the years, there has been an ongoing and complex debate in Israel about the service of women in the IDF and their integration into combat units… I believe that this war unequivocally proves the place of women in combat.

November 3, 2023 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

To do good, to do a mitzvah, something small for the sake of others. These are things that give me hope after a long time of not being able to find something to hold onto.

October 27, 2023 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

The release of hostages is not a political matter. It is a humane one. The global sports community urges all athletes to speak up and ensure the safety and well-being of the hostages. We must bring them home now.

October 20, 2023 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

The indescribable pain, the images, and the stories tear the soul apart and offer no respite. I see the broad support coming from Jewish communities worldwide; everyone is looking for ways to help and contribute, and it warms my heart.

October 13, 2023 – Read Lior’s full post HERE.

Join us at the 2025 Maccabiah in Israel (July 1-22, 2025)
This is default text for notification bar