MANCHESTER DIARY
BA pair find the welcome is warm but weather isn’t

NEW HOME: Matan and Nini Vilner visit Heaton Park with children Sahar and Maor

THE Manchester weather can take some getting used to. And for Matan and Nini Vilner, it is a far cry from Florida and Israel — where the pair were previously shlichim (leaders) for Bnei Akiva.

New additions to Manchester, having started their roles in September, the couple are in charge of all of the Jewish youth movement’s leaders in the north of England — including Leeds and Manchester — and Scotland.

And Gush Etzion-born Matan and Nini, from Jerusalem, have taken to life in Manchester very well.

Their son, four-year-old Sahar, attends Broughton Jewish Cassel Fox Primary School, while daughter, Maor, two, attends a nursery in the area.

Nini said: “We have joined the best community. We came to visit around six months ago and fell in love with the community.

“The people are really warm and intelligent, and there’s something we can connect here. There’s a lot of potential.”

Matan, 28, added: “Our work is also combined with the schools, teenagers and adults and we really think there is something we can do here.

“I’m also going to be teaching at Broughton Jewish and King David High School — which is similar to what I was doing in Israel.

“The biggest difference for me is the language.”

The couple are based at Salford’s Bnei Akiva bayit, and the length of time for the role is open-ended.

There is something the couple really want to bring to the community — modern Torah.

Nini said: “We want to make the community more connected to the Torah, but in a way that is relevant to modern life.

“It’s not difficult to modernise it because that’s how we live.

“We really see our lives this way and feel that it is something we can really learn and teach through BA and through schools.

“It will give the older young ones the tools to go to university with and be able to be comfortable with their Jewish identity on campus, because they won’t always be in a Jewish environment.”

While the couple do speak good English — Nini more than Matan — the children will have to adapt to life here.

Nini said: “I thought I would be crying every day, but it’s not been like that.

“We came because of the community, not the weather.

“You can’t rush things, the children will have to learn English. You have to wait and be patient.”


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