(DENVER) – JEWISHcolorado is set to welcome four young Israelis — recent high school graduates who have an opportunity to delay mandatory service in the Israel Defense Forces and serve Diaspora communities around the world. They are called Shinshinim, a Hebrew acronym for Shnat Sherut or “year of service.”
Shinshinim volunteers spend a year immersed in the local Jewish community, teaching and educating the youth of the community about Israeli culture and society, the Hebrew language, current affairs, and Jewish tradition. “These students are often called ‘the living bridge’ between our community and those in Israel,” said Rabbi Jay Strear, President and CEO of JEWISHcolorado. “The Shinshinim serve as Israeli emissaries or cultural ambassadors who ultimately strengthen our Jewish community and family ties.”
Shinshinim are chosen from more than a thousand candidates after a lengthy and thorough selection process. This is the ninth cohort of students to be hosted in Colorado and includes Adaya Koren from Hadera, May Sabri of Ramat HaNegev, Omer Dian from Kibbutz Tlalim in Ramat Ha Negev, and Ram Shraiber from Moshav Timmorim.
The Shinshinim interact with thousands of Coloradans throughout their year abroad, including working in Colorado schools and Jewish summer camps, taking part in Jewish Student Connection meetings with area high schoolers at ten public high schools, meeting with Hillel students, teaching in Religious School and Preschool classrooms, spending time at Denver Jewish Day School, and traveling to communities from Boulder to Colorado Springs and from Denver to Aspen. In addition, they have the opportunity to live with three different host families during their year.
The emissary program attracts participants from all sectors of Israeli society and all backgrounds. The program has operated for more than 20 years and sends some 200 Israeli teens to Jewish communities in North America, South Africa, and Europe. It is also part of a larger yearly Jewish Agency delegation of 2,000 emissaries of different ages and backgrounds who work around the world at summer camps, university campuses, youth movements, synagogues, JCCs, and Federations.
The Shinshinim Program is a partnership between JEWISHcolorado and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), and at the national level is also supported in part by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and Keren Hayesod - United Israel Appeal. Locally, the program is run as part of JEWISHcolorado’s Israel & Overseas Center, an initiative to bring more comprehensive and coordinated support to its work of connecting people in Colorado to the global Jewish world.
Former chair of the Jewish Agency and now President of Israel Isaac Herzog summed up the positive impact of the Shinshinim program. “The thousands of Jewish Agency shlichim serving in communities around the world create a living bridge between global Jewry and Israel. They bring Israel directly into the homes and hearts of hundreds of thousands of people – children, teens, families. And when they return to Israel, they continue to build this two-way bridge, bringing the voice of world Jewry to Israeli society.”
For questions or more information on our Shinshinim Program, please contact Michelle Schwartz at firstname.lastname@example.org or (303) 951-0270.