Every year, we send Shlichim, ShinShinim (gap-year Israeli emissaries) and Israel Fellows (campus emissaries) to Jewish communities overseas. They work in schools, JCCs, Hillels and other local Jewish organizations, building lasting relationships, teaching Hebrew and spreading an appreciation for Israeli culture. More than 1,700 Israelis lived and worked in Jewish communities around the world in 2019.
Israel Fellows, who are Israeli college graduates themselves, live on college campuses in North America to help ensure universities remain safe spaces for education, tolerance, and diversity. They are creating a stronger sense of support for Israel among Jewish and non-Jewish students alike, many of whom are apathetic about Israel’s reputation and don’t know fact from fiction. “Creating personal connections, where they get to know me as a person and as an Israeli, helps them respond to Israel in a positive way,” shared Eden, the Jewish Agency Israel Fellow at Goucher College in Maryland, about how she’s helping change students from being anti-Israel to being allies.
But it’s not only these global Jewish communities that benefit from having Shlichim in their midst; our Shlichim grow tremendously from their experience.
“Our experience has been nothing less than amazing. Detroit welcomed us with open arms,” said Nina, a Shlichah (Israeli emissary) in Detroit. When Nina and her husband welcomed their third child, a son, while on Shlichut (emissary service), Nina was overcome by how the community stepped up to help her when her husband had to go out of town for three weeks shortly after the baby was born. “They showed me that it takes a village and I was lucky enough to have a village, that was so sweet and giving.” Read more about Nina’s amazing experience here >
The number of Gap-Year Israelis in Jewish communities more than quadrupled over the last decade.
For Yogev, who calls coming to Milwaukee as a ShinShin, ‘the best decision he ever made,’ he feels like as much as he brought to the community, the community gave back to him — including a new perspective. “My year in Milwaukee has taught me so much, especially how much work is needed in order to maintain a Jewish life and a Jewish community outside of Israel,” he said.
View ShinShinim in action in the Greater MetroWest Jewish Community: