Every three years, the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, in collaboration with our partner JAFI, brings a new Shaliach (cultural emissary) to live and work in our community. The goal of Shlichut is to make meaningful connections with Milwaukeeans.
The shlichut program in Milwaukee is the oldest continuous shlichut program in the United States. Watch a film that reviews the 50-year unbroken chain of shlichim who have become integral parts of the Milwaukee Jewish community.
Keren was born in November of 1973 in Jerusalem to the Back family, a baby sister in a family of four children. She served in the Israel Defense Force as the education officer of the military prison in Tzrifin and was honorably discharged in 1995 as a Lieutenant. Keren graduated from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem as an industrial designer; with a semester as an exchange student at the Politecnico di Milano in Italy.
Keren worked for the Israel Museum in Jerusalem for more than 7 years, leading the museum’s member-groups of art enthusiasts at contemporary art exhibitions and workshops. For the past 8 years, she has been working for Rishon Le-Zion municipality as an art curator managing two of the city’s galleries. In this role, she has organized and curated over 50 art exhibitions of contemporary Israeli art at Yad- Labanim art gallery and in galleries in Tel-Aviv as well as curated solo exhibitions for dozens of various artists at Rishon Le-Zion City Hall, and initiated related cultural events. Her work in Rishon Le-Zion enabled her to help different audiences take a closer look at Israeli society and identity; linking past events, tradition, and heritage through present-day culture and art.
Keren is on shlichut with her husband Oori, their daughter Stav (age 12) and their son Erez (age 8). Oori holds a PhD in genetics from the Hebrew University and currently works for an Israeli genomics ‘Big-data’ company (NRGene). He grew up at Kiryat Biyalik (North of Haifa). They met each other during military service. Learn more about Keren and the Weisshaus family in this Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle article.
Contact Keren Weisshaus
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Pnina Ezra is the new Israel Campus Fellow at Hillel Milwaukee, funded by Milwaukee Jewish Federation and Jewish Agency for Israel. Pnina is from Ness-Ziona, a small city in the center of Israel. From 2013 – 2016, she lived in Jerusalem and loved it! For her IDF service, Pnina served as infantry instructor, training combat soldiers. This is Pnina’s second shlichut in the United States. The first time was in 2011 where she worked at a JCC summer camp in New Orleans. Although she has traveled in the east coast and southern parts of the United States, this is Pnina’s first time in the Midwest and Milwaukee.
From 2011 -2013, Pnina used to work as a co-manager of a youth movement, supervising 250 kids and teenagers, where she created an educational and fun environment and planned activities and experiences. She has a double major B.A in international relations and sociology and anthropology from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Before moving to Milwaukee, Pnina worked at a boutique hotel in Jerusalem as a receptionist, concierge, and guiding tourist to Israel and Jerusalem in particular.
Here in Milwaukee, Pnina works full-time on Milwaukee’s eleven campuses, engaging students of all backgrounds in Israel education and travel. She chose to come to Milwaukee because of the amazing people, and she is very excited to be here and to get to know everyone.
Pnina’s Facebook Profile