Teen Israeli Emissary Host Family Application

Host Family Application

Thank you for your interest in hosting an Israeli Teen Emissary (Shinshin). Hosting is an important and meaningful experience for everyone: our Israeli Shinshinim, your family, and the Jewish community here in Denver.

Who are the shinshinim?

The Shinshinim represent the best of Israel’s youth. Shinshinim candidates undergo a rigorous screening process in Israel, and those selected are required to complete a preparatory course focused on Jewish history and heritage, as well as issues of national and religious identity. This provides them with the tools they need to succeed as counselors, mentors, and leaders in their respective communities.

What is the Israeli Teen Emissary Program?

The program arranges for extended homestays, in Jewish communities around the world, for Israeli high school graduates during a gap year before they enter military service in Israel. Resident shinshinim volunteer in their communities, for a variety of agencies, organizations, and schools, and their presence encourages connections between Israel and the Diaspora, sparks dialogue between themselves and members of their host communities, and strengthens those communities’ connection to global Jewry.

Host families play a key role in the shinshin experience.

Each shinshin stays with three host families during the year. Host families are required to provide their shinshin with a car, auto insurance, roadside assistance, and medical insurance.


  1. A warm, loving, Jewish home eager to welcome a teenager into their family and to include them in meals, celebrations, everyday activities, and special occasions. The Shinshinim’s schedules keep them busy in the community, but it is their host families who foster the kinds of lifelong relationships that change lives—yours, your family’s, and your shinshin’s.
  2. A dedicated bedroom. A guest room or other unoccupied space is ideal. We prefer that you do not displace a member of the family to make room for a shinshin. Additional private space, such as a bathroom or living area, is desirable but not mandatory.
  3. A non-smoking home.

Once we receive your application, you may be contacted for a home interview. During the home interview, the following will be asked:

  • Describe your parenting style.
  • Are all members of the family included in the decision to host a shinshin?
  • Where would the shinshin sleep? What additional space is there for them to use (bathroom, den, etc.)?
  • Do you anticipate any major life events in your family within the next year (moving, house renovations, illness, death, birth, divorce, etc.)?
  • Have you ever had a non-family member live in your home for an extended period of time? If so, what kind of experience was it?
  • Is there an adult home in the evenings?
  • How do you feel about a messy room?
  • How do you feel about unexpected overnight guests?
  • Do you observe Shabbat? If so, how?
  • Are there times during the week that the shinshin need to be present with your family?
  • Do you have any questions or concerns about hosting a shinshin?