United Hebrew’s Participation in the Jewish Federation’s ShinShinim Program
Volunteer to be a Host Family!
United Hebrew is delighted to be welcoming Yuval Cohen (pictured on the right) as our ShinShin (emissary) that we will share with B’nai Amoona congregation throughout the 2017-2018 academic year. More information on the program is below in the Federation announcement. Yuval will work weekly within our religious school, Hebrew school, Chai School, preschool, youth programs, and within our adult programs and the life of our congregation. Yuval will share with us his love and knowledge of Israel and we will share our wonderful community with Yuval. Yuval Cohen lives in Lapid, which is small community close to Jerusalem. He majored, in high school, in Biology and Art. His hobbies are photography and dance. He is a professional dancer and belongs to an international troop. He is the head of the Tzofim (Israeli Scouts) in his town. Has worked at summer camps and after school programs for several years. He has travelled extensively through Europe and the States. We are so excited to welcome him to our community and help him feel at home.
As a partner in this program, we are asked to help provide housing for Yuval and Gal (the person pictured on the left who will be working with Shaare Emeth and Kol Rinah). The Federation ShinShin program coordinator, Cynthia Wachtel, will be overseeing this process, but is in search of households who will be delighted to take in an Israeli student (age 18) during a 3 month duration. Host families do provide housing and food, but a car and incidentals are provided through the ShinShin program. More information about host requirements and responsibilities are located below. This is a wonderful opportunity to connect with an Israeli student and to enrich the lives of all in your household. While it is preferred that United Hebrew and B’nai Amoona provide housing for Yuval and the other congregations for Gal, it is not required. So if you can only host one gender, please just let us know. If you have initial questions about hosting, Rabbi Shapiro is available to answer these questions. If you would like to be considered as a host, please send an email to both Rabbi Shapiro (email@example.com) and Cynthia Wachtel (firstname.lastname@example.org ). While the Federation will be handling all issues related to housing, they have asked that we confirm for them that the families offering to host are congregational members. Please be in touch by the end of May to express your interest.
Rabbi Roxanne J.S. Shapiro
Rabbi and Director of Life Long Learning
United Hebrew Congregation
Jewish Federation Announces Inception of Shinshinim Program
(St. Louis, April 5, 2017) Jewish Federation of St. Louis is pleased to announce the inception of the Shinshinim program in the St. Louis community. A “shinshin” is an 18-year-old Israeli emissary who defers their army service for one year to volunteer in Jewish communities abroad with the goal of educating people of all ages about Israel and Israeli culture. They teach about Israel through creative programs and challenging discussions, bringing an authentic Israel experience to the community they serve.
The program has existed in other North American Jewish communities for several years but this will be the first year St. Louis will be hosting shinshinim. The program has proved to have a tremendous positive impact on the local communities and has been a wonderful experience for host families and the shinshinim themselves.
The Shinshinim program is a partnership between the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, and four local congregations: Bnai Amoona Congregation, Kol Rinah, Congregation Shaare Emeth and United Hebrew Congregation. St. Louis will host two shinshinim: Gal Roberman and Yuval Cohen. Furthermore, the Jewish Federation of St. Louis has hired Cynthia Wachtel, who will be coordinating the program. Gal and Yuval will join our St. Louis community in August.
Jewish Federation of St. Louis is the Jewish community’s central philanthropic, planning and community-building organization. Founded in 1901, it is one of the region’s most respected and effective nonprofit organizations. Jewish Federation of St. Louis supports more than 90 agencies, programs and services in St. Louis and around the world – to ensure a thriving Jewish community, respond to emergencies and care for our vulnerable. Funds are raised through Jewish Federation of St. Louis’ Annual Campaign and through Planned Giving opportunities. Find out more at JFedSTL.org. Jewish Federation of St. Louis is a proud member of the United Way and a Better Business Bureau Accredited charity.
HOST FAMILIES GUIDELINES
Thank you for your interest in being a host family to the Shinshinim! Shinshinim are teen emissaries from Israel: they have just graduated from high school and have delayed their army service to serve in our community for a year on a volunteer basis. The Shinshinim will teach about Israel and Israeli culture in our community at various congregations. Our goal is for each shinshin to be placed in a warm, loving and Jewish home. Ideally, each family would host a shinshin for a total of 12-14 weeks.
This is the first year this program is being brought to St. Louis. Per other communities, hosting a shinshin has a tremendous impact and has proved to be a wonderful experience not only for the host family but for the shinshinim as well. Past host families regard this as one of the most enriching experiences they have had.
A family who is interested in being a host family will have to fill out an application and provide copies of the host parents’ valid driver licenses to run a background check. They will also need to sign a release and waiver of liability. We will conduct an interview at their house and do a tour/inspection of the “to be” accommodations of the shinshin.
The Shinshin should be considered as part of your family. As host parents you are caregivers making sure that your shinshin is properly housed, fed, and protected from harm. There are a few requirements that need to be met in order to be a host family:
- The shinshin will have a dedicated bedroom that is not used for other family needs (ie TV or computer room). A dedicated bathroom is not required. A room in the basement will be allowed as long as there is an accessible exit from the basement.
- Each shinshin will have a car so a parking space will be required (street parking is fine).
- Shinshinim will not be placed in homes with teens (15 or above) of the opposite gender (a male shinshin with a female American teenager or a female shinshinit with a male American teenager).
- It is desired that all family members have time to dedicate to spending time with the shinshinim and each other i.e. family meals, family activities, etc.
- At least one host parent shall always be in town while shinshin is staying at their home. If all adults from the host family will be away from their home overnight, the Shlichut Program Coordinator will make alternate overnight arrangements for the shinshin.
- Host families are responsible for providing the shinshinim with food.
If you have any questions, need more information or if you would like to begin the application process, please contact the Shlichut Program Coordinator:
Ph: (314) 442-3878