June 27, 2019

Israeli scouting just got hipper

By nature, Eli Fitlovitz prefers to stay in the background. The kibbutz-raised Israeli, who came to Los Angeles in 1982, has wise eyes, an endearing smile and a quiet confidence. A commercial real estate broker, he and his wife are now raising three teenagers. What finally forced Fitlovitz out of his life-long safety zone were his kids, and not in the way most teens make their parents uncomfortable.

Fitlovitz signed up his American-born public school kids for an Israeli youth group, hoping it would connect them to their heritage. The kids grumbled. But instead of letting them off the hook, Fitlovitz decided to revamp the group. And that’s how he found himself in a place he had never been before – the foreground. Center stage and holding the mike. A community leader.

The Israeli Scouts, or Tzofim, have been operating a chapter in the San Fernando Valley for 30 years. Based in Israel, with chapters all over the world, Tzofim is a nonsectarian, non-political youth movement akin to the Boy Scouts, with an Israeli twist. When Fitlovitz signed his children up, the Shevet Chen chapter had dwindling numbers and shaky morale. And worst of all, according to the teens, it was not cool.

Fitlovitz set about changing that.

Story continues after the video.

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