I would like to introduce myself. My name is Michal Kotlyarov and I’m the new Shlicha (emissary to Israel) here at the Denver JCC.

I arrived 2 months ago from Jerusalem where I was born and raised. A true Jerusalemite, which is quite unique. I love Jerusalem with all of my heart and being raised there has shaped much of who I am today.

My parents made Aliya (moving to Israel) from Ukraine with my older brother Kobi and both of my grandmothers and one grandfather in the 90’s. They came to Israel with the clothes on their back and a couple of suitcases. After two years I was born, making me the first Tzabara (native Israeli) in my family.

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My favorite things (aside from family, friends and my country) are music, art and hiking.

I’m very passionate about every kind of music, especially Israeli music. I played the piano for seven years, and now I prefer to listen rather than playing.

When I was in high school I majored in art. I love everything that involves craft, drawing and painting.

I hiked in many places in Israel: in the Negev, the mountains of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. For me hiking is a way to know Israel, to fall in love with all of the amazing thing Israel has to offer.

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I was in the Israeli scouts as a teenager and in the IDF I was a commander in basic training in the education division. Before I started my army service I took part in a program called “Shnat Sheirut”, which means “a year of service”. I postponed my army service for a year to volunteer for the community in Israel. I lived and worked in Kibbutz “Tze’elim”, with a group of 10 other 18 year olds.
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I’m very excited to be here and be a part of the Denver community. Some of you may have met me in the past couple of months and I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of you soon.